As the Australian government easing the restrictions across the country, Victoria still remains at high risk with 116 new COVID-19 reported cases. Unfortunately, this means some of the restrictions could be reimposed, particularly when it comes to house visits and public outings. Seniors still remain a high risk target group for coronavirus and therefore are further urged to stay in their homes. In our previous article, we covered 5 ways seniors can care for themselves during COVID-19 and today, we would like to expand further on one of these suggestions by discussing the best exercises for the elderly.
When it comes to COVID-19 in-home care, exercise plays an essential part in staying in good health and taking care of your body. Exercise reduces the risks of future sickness, increases bone density, maintains balance and strength, and decreases pain. However, safety always comes first and therefore, it is important to keep the exercises to a few simple movements that are not too difficult or intense. Depending on each individual’s physical strength, these exercises can be adjusted to meet specific targets, although here, we have kept it fairly simple and generic.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the best exercises for the elderly that seniors can practice at home as part of their COVID-19 in home care.
Side Leg Raise
While leaning on a steady surface such as a chair or a wall for balance, slowly lift the right leg up. Keeping the back straight and toes pointed forward, repeat the same motion with the left leg, aiming for at least 5 raises on each leg or more, if permitted. This is a one of the best exercises for the elderly that helps improve balance and posture and does not require too much physical activity or high intensity movements.
This exercise can be completed both standing up or sitting down. Simply rotate your shoulders up and down and then gently roll them forward and backwards. Complete a couple to stretch out the upper back muscles, preventing future muscle aches and improving the posture in the process. Feel free to stretch out the arms on either side, creating a deeper stretch.
Sitting on the chair, firmly keep your heels glued to the floor. Slowly begin to lift your toes upwards high enough that you could feel the muscle stretch. Repeat 10-20 times, allowing the blood to circulate in your legs, preventing future cramps and strengthening the ankles. This is a great exercise for the elderly and seniors.
Part 2 of the previous exercise, place your feet firmly on the ground, only lifting the heels this time. This allows the muscles on the front part of the foot to stretch, further strengthening the ankles.
Maintaining the same position on the chair, lift the right foot off the floor and gently roll the ankle to the left and to the right. Repeat the motion a few times on both feet to stretch and strengthen the calves.
Shoulder and Upper Back Stretch
Standing up, bend your right arm keeping the elbow at chest level and your first pointed towards the left shoulder. Placing your left hand on the elbow, slowly pull your arm across the chest, giving the shoulder muscles a good stretch. Hold the position for a few seconds and repeat the same motion with the left arm.