Savvy Fitness

Exercises for the Elderly  

While it could be caused by latent injuries, disability, chronic pain, or illness, even the most gentle exercises can sometimes be out of the question for the elderly. Nevertheless, even an elderly person suffering from mobility issues can enjoy certain activities if they are made more accessible and this can have a positive effect on their overall health 

In most establishments for elderly care, regular physical exercise is an important part of their health regimen.  

Activity rather than exercise 

Thinking of undertaking some form of physical exercise can be a daunting task for some seniors facing mobility issues. Instead, consider suggesting a little more physical activity. Simply moving about the home engaged in some productive activity can be excellent exercise. Consider dusting the shelves, or reorganizing a cluttered shelf or cabinet. 

If you live with an older person or are caring for one, you should also encourage them to take a more active role in the preparation of meals. Helping to collect the needed food items and food preparation is an excellent activity that can improve mobility and begin a healthy routine.  

Even just moderate activity like getting up and moving from place to place in the house can help to stretch the muscles and improve breathing. 


If the senior in your charge is mobile enough to swim, this is one of the safest and healthiest forms of exercise. Taking your elderly friend to a heated swimming pool can be the highlight of their week. The warm water calms inflammation in weak joints and can help to soothe the stiffness from arthritis.  The support of the water can ensure that muscle systems are not bearing too much weight.  

Even those with severe mobility issues can benefit from regular water sports. Some pools are equipped with hoists to help lower those with mobility issues gently into the pool and can also help pull them out at the end of their swimming exercise. You can use these online tools to help you find a suitable swimming pool with hoist support: ‘Poolfinder’, then select ‘pool hoist’ to narrow the choices to the most suitable for your elderly person.  

 You will also find that many swimming pools and therapy leisure centers have changing areas especially suited to the needs of senior citizens with mobility issues. If the person you are helping is interested in trying swimming classes but unsure of how to find the right facilities for their needs, try speaking to your nurse, GP, or occupational therapist who can point you in the right direction. Learn more about mobility assistance here.

Improving balance 

The less mobile a person is, the more likely they will experience a fall when trying to move about. Not only does a prolonged period of inactivity weaken muscles but it can impair the sense of balance and coordination as well. This is because maintaining proper balance in movement is something that takes plenty of practice — consider riding a bike. If you ride a bike every day, you will have the balance and confidence to do so without a second thought. If you have not ridden a bike in several years, your first attempt may be somewhat wobbly — because you’re out of practice.  

Of course, riding a bike is a very risky activity for an aging person, but there are many other lighter exercise routines that can improve mobility and balance without risking life and limb.  

For example, tai chi is the gentle practice of engaging the muscles systems in coordination with breathing and is a very relaxing way to improve strength and balance in the comfort of their home. This can be done while listening to music as well. Dementia patients especially find it very soothing and relaxing to listen to music that made them happy in their youth.

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