Everyone can benefit from exercise. In the elderly, exercise is linked to better health, increased mental alertness and it can even help slow down age-related issues. As seniors face declining dexterity, balance and grip strength, upper body exercises become even more important in maintaining health and wellness.
As a family caregiver, you may already have people assisting your elderly loved one with different exercises, such as a home care aide, occupational therapist or physical therapist. If not, there are some proven upper body exercises that are ideal for seniors although they benefit every age. After all, exercises are always more fun to do together, so after getting a doctor’s approval, grab the grandkids and get ready for some fun upper body exercises.
Exercise 1. Strengthen Arms
Wearing weighted arm cuffs, seniors can participate in range of motion activities such as folding and unfolding bath towels, tossing a beach ball back and forth and reaching up above the head while in a seated position. They should repeat each activity 10 times and then rest. As they slowly increase the number of times in repeating the action, they boost muscle strength and build up endurance.
Exercise 2. Strengthen Torso
Set a small weight on the right side of the senior while seated on a bench or firm sofa. The weight should be close to their hip and upper thigh. Ask the senior to twist their torso to the right and pick up the weight with their left hand. In one smooth motion, they should set the weight down on the left side. Now the senior should pick up the weight using the right hand and move it to the right side. Repeat 10 times and rest.
Exercise 3. Grip Strength
Seniors can improve their grip strength with this simple exercise that is similar to the game of “hot potato.” Sitting at a table, one or more people can grasp the can and set it down in front of their neighbor. The other person picks up the can and sets it down in front of the other. Make sure that the senior actually grips the can and picks it up, not just slide it across the table.
Exercise 4. Improve Balance
When it comes to balance, few exercises are better for seniors than performing upper body movements while keeping the lower body stable. The senior should stand on a smooth, flat surface with their feet about shoulder-width apart. They should hold some light weights in each hand with their arms at their sides. Slowly bend the elbows and bring the weights up to the chest. The senior should hold this position for a second, and then release slowly. This exercise should be repeated 10 times before resting.
Exercise 5. Shoulder Mobility
Doing shoulder shrugs can actually help seniors gain strength in the upper back and the neck, as well as the shoulder. The senior can stand or sit, with light weights in each hand. They should raise their shoulders up at the same time, as if giving a shrug. As they release the shoulders, they should push them backwards as they drop. This should be repeated 10 times, and then rest.
When seniors engage in consistent upper body exercise, they will improve their muscle function and increase their strength to handle all kinds of daily tasks. Not only that, exercise makes them feel better about themselves. When upper body exercises are done along with family members, it provides additional benefits of love and laughter.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring home care in Elizabeth, NJ, call the caring staff at Helping Hands Home Care today at 908-418-4299. Providing Home Care Services in all of Northern and Central NJ, including Clark, Westfield, Cranford, Scotch Plains, Rahway, Linden, Summit, Edison, Elizabeth, Mountainside and the surrounding areas.