Exercise for seniors over 75 is just as important as exercise for any other age group. We simply need to adjust our choices to what is appropriate for our senior bodies.
Exercise for seniors over 75 can be a lot more pleasurable and fun than it may seem to you right now.
It’s not a horrible painful day in the gym. Far from it. It’s simple exercise that makes us feel great all day long.
And, it’s never too late to start.
“Exercise is king, nutrition is Queen. Use them both and you will have a kingdom”. ~ Jack LaLanne
Jack was a man full of life and energy. He started out as a sickly kid and, through exercise and good food, turned himself into one of the most athletic men of the century. He lived to be 96. He was a great advocate of exercise for seniors over 75.
And, do you remember George Burns? I think we all do. He lived to be 100! One of his most famous jokes was: "If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself!”
The single best thing we can do for ourselves is exercise. A little each day.
It's true that some individuals are blessed with good genes, and no matter how many unhealthy lifestyle habits they have, they're going to live into old age. But, for the rest of us who might be concerned with the quality of life as we age, exercise is one of the keys.
Is it ever too late to start? NO. Research proves it's not.
In this article, we'll discuss the benefits of exercise for seniors over 75. Show you exercises that are appropriate and pleasurable for seniors over 75.
Then, we’ll give you some tips on how to get started no matter how old you are.
Want to have a little fun first and take a quiz that will give you some motivation?
Most of us have gotten a lot of false information on exercise and what is can and can not do for us.
This Quiz can help seniors, who are new to exercising, understand exercise for seniors over 75 a little better. This is a short fun quiz you may enjoy taking. If not, just skip past it.
The quiz will give you some very good basic information on what exercise can do for you. At 75, 85, or even over 90! It’s fun! Give it a try.
click on: The QUIZ!
Did you know that by the year 2030, people 85 and OLDER will be the fastest growing part of the population?
“Current evidence clearly indicates that participation in a regular exercise program is an effective way to reduce and/or prevent a number of the functional declines associated with aging. Older adults have the ability to adapt and respond to both endurance and strength training.”
reference:“Exercise and the Older Adult”
Here are some specific things that improve with exercise for seniors over 75:
Let’s take a look at each of these:
As most of us (men especially) have noticed, as we get older our muscles get smaller (and our fat increases). Darn!!
That all began around the age of 40.
Well, we need our muscles not only to look good, but to maintain our balance, mobility, and our independence.
Don’t get scared now! We don’t have to be “muscle men” or women athletes. Far from it.
BUT, we do need to keep using our muscles (by using exercises for seniors over 75) to keep our muscles strong and capable. There is no area of life where the saying, “Use it or lose it.” applies more.
Everything we do requires muscular action. Never really thought of it that way. Did you?
But, Every move we make, is made with our muscles. One of the main reasons some of us old timers can’t get out of a chair without help is that our legs simply got weaker and weaker over the years (and decades!) from getting no real exercise.
Did you know, most of us can reverse that problem? If we don’t wait too very long. Just by using simple exercise for seniors over 75.
All we have to do is keep moving, AND, use a little more effort in our exercises of choice than we do in regular daily life. That’s the key. When our exercise is harder than our daily tasks, our daily tasks become easier.
We will not be doing any drop to the ground sweating and panting work outs. No. Never. Those are not good exercises for seniors over 75. We're just going to do a nice fun, comfortable bunch of pleasant movements that use the muscles we need each day to make us stronger and make life easier.
“It's never too late to exercise and build muscle. The body is responsive to strength training at any age. reference: "It's Never Too Late to Start Exercising"
Yes, muscle mass (strength) can increase at any age with exercise. Yes, we can ALL get stronger and more able. With simple enjoyable exercise for seniors over 75.
“After doing specific training for 12 weeks, people over the age of 90 improved their strength, power and muscle mass. This was reflected in an increase in their walking speed, a greater capacity to get out of their chairs, an improvement in their balance, a significant reduction in the incidence of falls, a significant improvement in muscle power, and mass in the lower limbs.”
reference: “Study on 90-Year-Olds Reveals the Benefits of Strength Training”, Science Daily
Yes, that was senior citizens OVER the age of 90!
Ida Weiss, a 91-year-old participant a similar Boston study, had the following to say after the study, "It's very beneficial for me. Things that I couldn't do when I came here, I can do now. I didn't think that I was going to live anymore, but I feel different now."
Strength and ability isn’t just a function of muscle size (often called “muscle mass”). It’s also controlled by the signals the brain sends to the muscles. This is called “neurological patterning”. This “patterning” can cause significant increase in strength without more muscle mass.
How do we get this improved “patterning”? Simple, by doing our exercises! The more often we do our movements, the stronger these signals become. That is a big part of the reason why exercise for seniors over 75 is so important for us.
Oh boy oh baby! Another thing that slides down hill as we age. Right? We just poop out more quickly these days! Am I right?
Well, Exercise for Seniors Over 75 to the rescue again!
Yes, you may get tired after you exercise. BUT, keep doing your exercises day after day and after a while, like magic, you’re in for a wonderful surprise: More energy every day!
Did you know that walking is probably the very best endurance builder (and refresher!) that there is. Yes, just walking. No gym. No special equipment, etc… Just walking.
And, did you know that strength training (exercising with resistance of any kind) also improves endurance and stamina?
The most important point here is this:
done regularly, will increase strength and stamina.
Exercise that is fun and refreshing is the best kind of exercise for seniors over 75. So, choose what you like. What you enjoy doing. And, watch the magic happen.
Most Important: Do whatever you can. 4 - 6 days a week.
I’m sure, positive, and certain… that there is not a single one of us seniors over 75 that has not noticed how much less flexible we have become. Sometimes just standing up straight takes a few moments now. Right?
The good news is, the studies are showing that seniors who engage in exercise programs that include stretching exercises show improvements in flexibility.
This is easy enough to prove to yourself rather quickly. Just do a little stretching at the end of your exercises, even for just one or two minutes, and see/feel the difference after a couple of weeks.
Stretching can also improve the range of our motion in our hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, wrists and necks. Stretching, even just a little each day, is one of the best exercises for seniors over 75.
Remember: You don’t want to go wild and start stretching like crazy. Especially in the beginning. It takes time for the connective tissues to stretch out. If you stretch too much or too hard too soon you’re going to sprain things and feel worse than ever.
So, as the old German proverb says: “Make haste SLOWLY.”
Here are Seven simple stretches in our exercise for seniors over 75 list that we can practice, that have instructional videos, which will help us ease stiffness and regain more flexibility: “7 Simple Stretches for Older Adults”
You don’t have to do them all right away. Pick just 2 or 3 to get started with. You can add more as time goes on and you feel like it.
Remember: Make progress slowly and gently.
Balance decreases as we age. Have you noticed?
That means we are more susceptible to falls. And, that is a real concern for us older seniors.
“The results of a study of 256 older adults (70 to 92 years of age, average age 77) who participated in tai chi for six months found that there were 52% fewer falls in the individuals who did tai chi compared to those who didn’t….
Combining the results of many studies on the same subject, it was reported that muscle strengthening and balance retraining exercises in 1,016 older men and women (ages 65 to 97) reduced the risk of falls and fall injuries by as much as 35%-45%.” reference: “What Happens to Balance as We Age?"
Now, not all of us want to begin training in tai chi after 70. Right? And, it’s not necessary. There are many other fine balance exercises for seniors over 70. Here is a GREAT video for seniors over 70 that helps us with balance.
* editors note: One of our readers just informed me that the audio goes out for a couple of minutes in the beginning of this video, then comes back on again. STILL, is is such a great balance exercise video for seniors that I wanted to include it for you here.
These babies wear out too. The cushion pads between the bones gets thinner. Sometimes they wear out all together and we wind up replacing those joints. (This old age stuff is not for sissies. It’s work!) Choosing exercise for seniors over 75 must take this into consideration.
The lubricating fluid in the joints that lubricates, nourishes, and protects them during movement is called synovial fluid.
The way this synovial fluid gets in there is through movement. Like exercise. If we don’t move, the synovial fluid does not move. We have to move to keep things moving.
When there is enough synovial fluid, movement is smooth. When there is too little, things wear out too quickly. Exercise and movement is the only way to lubricate our joints and keep them happy and in good shape. Gentle exercise for seniors over 75, that involves plenty of gentle movement, helps keep this lubrication working.
Sometimes it seems it’s as bad as being a German Shepherd Dog when it comes to our 75 year old hips.
We hear about this person and that person who fell and now has a break. Right?
It’s because we have become more fragile with age. Our structures are not as strong as they used to be.
Dr. Edward W. Gregg from the Imperial College in London, England and his colleagues studied nearly 10,000 women over 65 for an average of 7.6 years and found that: “…higher levels of leisure time, sport activity, and heavy household chores and fewer hours of sitting daily were associated with a significantly reduced risk of broken (fractured) hip bones.”
Further, Dr. Gregg's group found that women who were very active and engaged in activities such as tennis or aerobic dance had the greatest (36%) reduction in hips breaking. Women who did lower-intensity activities such as gardening, walking, or social dancing for at least an hour a week also had significant reduction.
This also applies to us men.
Our bones tend to get less dense as we got older. This means they are not are strong and they can break more easily.
According to The National Osteoporosis Foundation, low bone mass affects 54 million Americans. Approximately 1 out of 2 people over the age of 50.
The specific type or amount of exercise for seniors over 75 is not known. What they do know is weight lifting (even mild weights) and simple walking cause stress on the bones. This stress is good stress. It causes them to thicken. Strengthen. Especially in the hips and back.
Just what we need!
If we want to stay strong, able, capable we need some resistance exercise for seniors over 75.
We lose strength gradually. And, therefore, we are constantly seeing what we can do to make life easier.
WRONG!! Wrong! Wrong!
That is the road to early decay, weakness, and misery.
Older age is not easy. And,
“Old age is not for sissies.”
~ Bette Davis
We have to do the opposite. We need to do some things that are harder (exercise!) so that normal activity again becomes easy, effortless, and no problem. That is the main point of exercise for seniors over 75
We do need to do exercises that demand more from our muscles than our daily minimum needs. Not a lot. Just a bit harder. Stick to the minimum and we down hill faster, much faster, than we need to.
Muscular strength is the foundation of aging successfully and comfortably.
Our physical strength will determine how long we will be able to be independent. For most of us that is very important. Correct exercise for seniors over 75 is most often the answer here.
Every time you pick up those weights, or participate in one of the exercise videos, remind yourself that this is how you stay independent and able to take care of yourself. AND, this is how you will be able to continue living ALL of your years.
That way, you’ll always be willing to do your daily exercise.
What if you hate exercise with a passion?
What if even the idea of exercising makes you miserable?
Are you willing to do just one exercise each day? For just a few minutes, and no more.
Would you be willing to do just ONE exercise that could make every day a better day?
Is there such an exercise for seniors over 75?
This is the one:
This is ONE great exercise for seniors over 75 who really detest and fight against the whole idea of exercise, BUT, who want to gain more overall Strength, Balance, and Endurance.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1) A sturdy chair with no arms
2) 2 Books
3) Someone to stand in front of you and hold you in case you lose your balance.
This is so simple, and, so rejuvenating.
Here we go!
first: Sit in the chair. Hold one book in each hand.
second: Have your helping person stand right in front of you.
third: Bend forward until your nose is over your toes. (This will have you balanced for the stand.) Arms at your side.
fourth: Stand up.
fifth: Lift the books over your head. Then lower them back down.
last: Sit back down.
That is one full repetition.
Do as many of these as you can.
In the beginning 3 may be hard and all you can do.
Do this every day, and you’ll be up to 10 before you know it. OK. Maybe a month or two. That’s still great!
When you can do 20 in a row, you’re going to feel like a new person! And, 20 each day will be all you ever need to do.
How's that for a simple program of exercise for seniors over 75 who HATE exercise?
Now, we realize that after a while, like most people, you may get bored doing the exact same movement every day.
A program of exercise for seniors over 75 needs variation just like any other exercise program for anyone else. Variation keeps our exercise fresh and enjoyable.
So, here is our favorite VIDEO that will give you 6 Variations of this great exercise.
The variations on this Video can be quite challenging. Especially when standing on the pillow. You should not attempt the throw pillow stand until you have some good leg strength because it is quite challenging to our balance.
note: ALWAYS, have a strong and able person standing right there in front of you to catch you if you need assistance. This person is known as a “Spotter”. I know, you don’t see a spotter in the video. That’s because the instructor is strong. After some time, you will be strong enough and confident enough to work alone.
For Now: Always have a spotter with you until you are super confident in your motions.
By practicing this one exercise daily,
you will improve your:
Is that pretty Amazing for just one exercise each day?
Here's a little piece of interesting information on exercise for seniors over 75:
Researchers have found that the fittest elders had the highest scores on tasks like coordination, scheduling, planning, and memory. reference: “Does Exercise Help Cognitive Function”,
“How much exercise do we need?”
This is a really great question that we get asked regularly when discussing exercise for seniors over 75.
You were probably imagining all kinds of long and unpleasant workouts that you would never do. I hope you are now seeing that this is not necessary. Or even beneficial. (Whew! Thank God! Right?)
The fact is: You probably need a whole lot less exercise than you think, to stay fit and gain all the wonderful benefits exercising has to offer.
Here’s the key: We only need enough exercise to make our daily tasks easy and pleasurable.
If you’re standing by the side of your bed, holding on to your walker so that you can stand up, and you struggle, you most definitely need to start exercising. Do you agree?
On the other hand, if you get out of bed easily, by yourself, walk to where ever you want to go without a problem, lift what you need to without a problem, get up out of chairs or off the sofa without a problem… You’re doing just fine. That’s all we need exercise to do for our strength: Make life’s daily tasks easy.
Exercise improves our strength. It improves our flexibility. It improves ALL of our physical abilities.
You know what else? As we get stronger, our digestion improves. We sleep better. Every day becomes easier and more pleasant.
Yes, in the beginning you may be able to do only a very little. You may think you are too weak. Don’t worry. Over time you will get stronger.
Do only what you comfortably can.
The important thing is that you keep on doing your exercises day by day. Then, strength will improve. Little by little you’ll be able to do more and more. Even if you’re over 90!
Does that sound great?
When we start out exercise for seniors over 75 programs, we definitely don’t want to try to make up for years of being inactive overnight. That’s a BIG mistake. One of the worst things you can do. It can cause injury. Especially in us over 75 senior people.
As we said before, we’ll “make haste slowly”.
We’ll start real slow. With just a couple of exercises. A little time balancing. Some “Sit to Stand” exercise (like you saw in the video above). A simple stretch or two at the end. That will take about 5 minutes.
Just 5 minutes in the beginning may be plenty. Don’t push yourself too hard. Take your time. Little by little we can progress up to 20 minutes a day, 4 to 6 days a week.
Check how you feel. If you feel really crappy at the end of your exercise session, or the next day, you’ve done too much or worked too hard.
Sometime we just can’t believe how little we are capable of in the beginning. It’s OK. That’s normal. Especially if you’re just beginning to exercise over when you’re over 75!
Just stay with it, gently, day after day, and the changes that come can seem like miracles.
Even if you only do what I call the “1 + 1” in the beginning, or, just a few sit to stand exercises, you’re going to be 100% better off than doing nothing.
What is the “1 + 1”?
You walk out your front door and go as far as you comfortably can for just one minute. Stop, rest a bit, and walk that minute back home.
For some of us over 75, that’s going to be an effort. It may only get you to the sidewalk before you need to turn back. That’s OK. Use your walker if you need to. If it seems difficult, have someone younger and stronger walk next to you so you feel secure.
Do this each day. It will get easier and easier. Eventually, try 2 minutes. It may take you a month to get there. That’s OK. Don’t worry. Just keep doing it daily. You’ll get there.
Then, increase to 2 minutes each way. Keep going until you can go 10 minutes in each direction. If you’re quite weak right now, this may take you months to achieve. That’s OK. You’ll get there. And, when you do, you’ll be Amazed at how different you feel.
“What if I want something more strenuous? Or, just some variation. Where can I find more exercises for seniors over 75?”
In this article we are talking about getting stated with exercise for seniors over 75.
After you get into the swing of it (and that may be quite a few months), you might want other exercises for variety and/or greater strength. Or, maybe you’re pretty strong right now.
We have another article called: “Senior Exercise - Doing The FUN Stuff!”
If you click on that link you’ll find exercises and exercise videos just for us seniors. There are even exercises you can do from your chair if your legs are too weak. And, the Videos are FUN to exercise along with.
One more thing: Don’t forget about dancing. Dancing is one of the very best exercise for seniors over 75. Yes, even if you just move gently to the music while sitting in your favorite chair, or hold a partner and sway back and forth, you are dancing.
Dancing will put a smile on your face and Joy in your heart. And, if you are lucky enough to have a partner available, even just holding each other and swaying back and forth to the beat of the music will give you some deep happiness besides improving your strength.
Our article on Elderly dancing is for seniors of every age. We're never too old. And, dancing at any age, even 90+, is a magical thing! We'll show you how.
There are exercises for seniors over 75 at all levels of fitness. From weak as a kitten to competitive athlete. Progress is always possible.
After a while, say six months or so, some of you may be feeling much stronger and desire a real nice full body workout just for seniors. Here’s one I found on YouTube that fits the bill just right! And, it only takes 15 minutes to complete:
You may even want to start some of these exercises now. You don’t have to do them all. Just pick one or two that you like.
And, you don’t have to do as many repetitions as Coach Kozak does in the video either.
Remember: Some exercise is Always better than no exercise. As time goes on, we get stronger and stronger. Even men and women past the age of 90!
not only lowers the risk of developing major diseases or disabilities,
but also promotes good mental health, keeps the mind sharp
helps us maintain an active social life."
reference: "Exercise in Your 90s"
We all know that exercise is good for us. That it makes us stronger. That we feel better when we are exercising regularly.
But, what about exercise for seniors over 75?
Same thing! We’re never too old to exercise. We’re never too old to begin. We're never to old to obtain the Benefits!
But, over 75 we have to be in tune with our bodies more. We need to exercise more gently. MUCH more gently. We need more time between exercises also.
So, these exercises we are showing you are especially for us seniors over 75. Even way over 75!
Always Remember This Important Point:
Even just 5 minutes of exercise each day
is 1000% better than no exercise at all.
We don’t have to go nuts and sweat and strain like the young people so enjoy doing. That’s not going to be beneficial to us.
We just need to keep our muscles comfortably strong. That’s all. And, the exercise for seniors over 75 that you now learned in this article, and on the related links in the article, can help you do just that. Even past 90!
The most important thing to do is this: Get Started!
The second most important thing is: Never Quit!
Be Well, ~ William, Fiona, and Charlotte