The Cottages Blog

5 Safe Summer Exercises for Seniors

Posted by Regina Lawler on May 23, 2017 9:00:00 AM


In the summer time, seniors need to take care not to get overheated or dehydrated, due to hotter temperatures and more time spent outside. But they also need to make sure to continue to get regular exercise to keep their joints and muscles strong and avoid falls and broken bones. Here are five easy exercises that you can do in the summer heat and still keep your cool. If you feel any pain at all, discontinue the exercise. Always ask your doctor before starting any new sort of exercise routine.

1. Chair Squats

Squats help to strengthen your lower body and abdominal muscles. By working these specific parts of your body, you are helping to improve your balance, which is very important as we age. Having strong legs and better balance means you will be able to go up and down stairs more easily, lean down to pick up items and stand back up with less effort, and get up out of chairs without struggling. To do a chair squat, all you need is a sturdy chair and yourself. Stand directly behind the chair, place your hands on the top of the back, and slowly squat toward the ground as if you are going to sit in an invisible chair behind you. Keep your head up, your back straight, and don’t let your knees go over your toes.

2. Swimming

Swimming is a great low-impact activity that has very little risk of injury. Being in the water is easy on a senior’s joints and can help to relieve some minor swelling and pain due to certain issues and conditions. Activities like water aerobics can help seniors to improve their flexibility, tone their muscles, reduce their risk for osteoporosis, and help them maintain a healthy heart. Join a neighborhood pool, find an indoor pool near you, or use your own pool if you have one and get moving in the water as soon as possible! If you’re going to be swimming outside, remember to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays. Use a sunscreen that is waterproof and has an SPF between 30 and 50. Reapply your sunscreen every 30 minutes to one hour for the best protection possible.

3. Walking

Walking is great exercise for seniors, and if you do it for just a few minutes every day, it can help you to improve your circulation, strengthen your heart and bones, and maintain better balance. One study found that postmenopausal women who walked one to two miles per day lowered their blood pressure by nearly 11 points in just 6 months. Another study found that just 30 minutes of walking every day reduces a woman’s risk for hip fractures by 40 percent. If you’re going to walk in the summer months, either choose an indoor facility or walk in the early morning hours or later evening hours to avoid walking during the hottest, sunniest part of the day.,

4. Wall Push-Ups

This exercise is a great one that you can do inside on a particularly hot summer day when you don’t have a lot of time to spend on your workout. Wall push-ups are a good way to build your upper body strength in your arms and chest. Having a strong upper body can help you avoid shoulder, back, and neck injuries. All you need to do is stand facing a wall in your house, pllace your hands palms down on the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart. Keeping your body in a straight line, bend your elbows and slowly lower your chest toward the wall the same way you would if you were doing a push-up on the ground. It is ok for your heels to come up off the floor. Repeat this exercise as few or as many times as you want.

5. Yoga

Yoga is good for all ages, as it can be modified to suit any body type and can be performed at any skill level. It is an ancient form of exercise that helps to increase flexibility, improve breathing, strengthen and tone muscles and bones, and lower blood pressure. Many gyms and wellness centers offer a variety of health classes that often include yoga. If you are considering trying a yoga class, talk to your doctor first. Avoid “hot yoga” classes, as they can raise a senior’s core temperature too high.


Caregiver's Field Guide to Assisted Living

Topics: Senior Care Resources

Regina Lawler

Written by: Regina Lawler

Regina Lawler, Resident Services Director, has worked at Country Cottage since the first day the doors opened. She began as a Homemaker before being quickly promoted to Coordinator and then to Resident Services Director. Regina feels she has found her “place in life” and says “I will be here long after I’m old enough to be one of the residents. I love my residents as if they were my own family.” Regina has her Assisted Living Administrator’s License and Assisted Living Federation Association’s National Lifetime Administrative Certificate. Regina grew up in the Mount Hebron Community and attends North Russellville Baptist Church. She has been married to Perry Lawler for 32 years and has one son. In her spare time, she enjoys walking and cross-stitching.