According to the public health section of the Government of Canada’s website, yoga and lifting weights are among the activities that can help older adults keep their muscles and bones strong. Plus, there’s an abundance of research clearly showing regular exercise has both physical and mental benefits during the later stages of life. That being said, it’s just as important to be aware of exercises generally considered dangerous for older adults. Here are six of them.
1. Long-Distance Running
Aerobic capacity naturally decreases with age no matter how fit seniors may be. Consequently, running for long periods generally isn’t advised for older adults, especially those with a history of respiratory conditions. Safe alternatives include:
• Moderate running at shorter intervals
• Light jogging
• Brisk walking
• Indoor treadmill or elliptical machine use
Some seniors may need assistance to safely perform exercises. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care. Toronto Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
2. Stair Running/Climbing
Balance naturally decreases with age, so there’s an increased risk of falling with exercise this intense. Also, climbing stairs repetitively can be hard on hips, knees, and ankles that may already be affected by arthritis or bone loss. The same muscle groups can be safely targeted by:
• Marching in place
• Using a stationary stair-climber
• Working out on a stationary bike
3. High-Impact Aerobics
Walking, water aerobics, Pilates, and cycling are examples of safe low-impact aerobic activities for seniors. What older adults should avoid is high-octane aerobics classes or grueling, intense aerobic exercises. In addition to possibly putting too much strain on the heart and lungs, high-impact aerobic workouts also increase the risk of sustaining an injury. And even though it’s a popular fitness trend, seniors should also avoid high-intensity interval training.
4. Squats with Weights
Low-impact squats can be just fine for seniors without existing lower back problems. However, adding weights can create too much stress on various lower body structures, including the hips, upper thighs, and knees. Instead, it’s best for older adults to skip the weights and focus on maintaining proper form. If there’s a desire to get more out of squats, a safe way to do this is to add more reps.
Getting regular exercise can boost quality of life in the golden years. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare families can rely on. All of our caregivers are bonded, licensed, and insured, there are no hidden fees, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.
5. Leg Presses and Crunches
Both of these gym-based exercises are potentially dangerous for seniors because they put the lower spine in an unnatural position for an extended time, which increases the risk of developing long-term issues with damaged spinal discs or irritation of the sciatic nerve that starts in the lower back area (sciatica). Safer options for seniors include:
• Resistance band leg presses
• Seated leg stretches or extensions
• Modified plank exercises
6. Bikram Yoga
Traditional yoga is a great way for many older adults to maintain flexibility and increase balance and coordination. It’s also a form of exercise with many proven mind-body benefits. However, seniors should avoid Bikram yoga and similar types of hot yoga. The reason is because being in a hot, enclosed environment while performing yoga increases dehydration and could contribute to fainting and other potentially dangerous problems. Low-impact yoga tends to be safer and more beneficial for older adults.
Professional caregivers are expertly trained in assisting older adults with safe physical activity. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Toronto Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (416) 488-8777 to learn more.