As we get older, it can be realistic that you will have pain in a part of your body that you will have to live with or get treatment for. Many seniors can suffer from arthritis, a common condition that that involves inflammation in the joints.
Yet, even with the aches and pains caused by arthritis, typically, older adults can still be active and exercise. I know this first hand because many of the seniors in my group fitness programs tell me about their pain or physical limitations. Often, many of them will ask for advice on how they can work through some of the pain they feel or for alternate ways to workout without making their conditions worse.
While being in tune with your body can help someone know what their physical limitations are when it comes to exercise; it also helps to know alternate ways that are easier on the body. Below are three of the best exercises for seniors that suffer pain.
3 Exercises for Seniors
- Swimming – Any activity done in water is usually great for those who suffer pain. For seniors that have lower body pain in areas like the knees, ankles and hips; swimming tends to be easier on the joints because it takes away the hard contact with the ground. While squats and lunges are great exercises, they can be hard on those that have lower body pain caused by the person’s body weight. With swimming, a person’s weight doesn’t contribute to the pressure they put on their joints because the water supports much of their body weight. In addition to making it easier to exercise, being in water itself is a great workout. Since water is denser than air, you work harder, burn more calories and can stay pain free in the process.
- Do What You Can: Range of Motion Exercises – Some of the best advice I give to those that are suffering from pain is to “do what you can.” Doing what you can doesn’t mean that you are taking the easy way out. Instead, it is being in tune with what exercises are good and bad choices for your body. Your body will let you know when you’re doing too much or pushing yourself too far. Listen to it. Pain is often a signal to let you know when to take it easy, especially if you’re an older adult easing into exercise. In addition to doing what you can, another tip is to only do exercises within the range of motion where there is no pain. For example if squats hurt your knees, only go to the point in the exercise where you don’t feel the joint pain. In working within your range of motion, it allows you to still do the exercise, but, in some cases, can increase the pain-free range of motion that you gain over time.
- Walking – Typically one of the easiest and most functional exercises you can do is to walk. Walking allows you exercise your aerobic system but not have to do high-impact activities. Once the body becomes more warmed up from walking, it is not uncommon to feel some of the aches and pains ease away due to increased blood flow in the body.
Pain doesn’t mean we can’t exercise. With the right choices and learning what is good and bad for our body, it can free us to have healthy and active lives.
About the Author: Eric Daw is an active aging specialist and the owner of Omni Fitt. Omni Fitt is dedicated to the wellbeing, health and quality of life of people aged 65 and over. Eric motivates and empowers the older adult population to take responsibility for their independence, health and fitness through motivating and positive coaching experiences.