Age often comes with stiff joints and wobbly knees. But it is the knee that suffers the most during the senior years. This is because osteoarthritis sets in for most elders above 60. Senior-friendly exercises are the right way to combat osteoarthritis, rather than medication. Medication has only temporary relief while senior-friendly exercises offer permanent relief by making the knee joints agile and the knee muscles flexible. This is why senior physical activities are included in the activities at assisted living compulsorily.
Senior physical activities for elders which do not cause knee pain
Time and time again, elders are advised to perform some physical activity to avoid putting on weight and to keep their metabolism active. But what kind of activity can elders do when they have knee pain? That is why it is imperative to suggest only those senior physical activities to elders that do not cause any knee pain like the ones given below. Some exercise tips for senior citizens are also given to ensure minimum discomfort to the knees.
Elders with weak knees tend to avoid walking. But that is the worst thing to do. Regular walking actually reduces the stiffness of the knee joint and nourishes it better. The knee is composed of both bone and cartilage. The cartilage does not have any blood supply and the only way to keep it healthy and functioning are by giving it exercise and lubrication through walking.
Elders can walk for at least 30 minutes every day without any knee pain. Reduce your walking time if you have severe knee pain but never stop walking.
Bicycling is one of thesenior physical activities that are best for elders with osteoarthritis. It strengthens both the muscles and the knee joints by moving the knees in their range of motion. It is a low-impact exercise that is highly aerobic. It reduces stress and cholesterol while improving the testosterone levels in men. Cycling also improves T-cell production and immunity.
Seniors can cycle indoors or outdoors. They must do it at a relaxed pace with a bike they are comfortable with.
Swimming is ideal for elders with knee problems and osteoporosis. It is a whole-body workout that is gentle on the knees. It does not apply pressure on your knees, hips or spine. It is a great resistance training that improves the flexibility of your muscles. Swimming is good for the brain and mental health as it relaxes the body. Water Aerobics, Pilates and Aqua Yoga are some other water techniques that can be used by seniors to improve the flexibility and mobility of their knees.
Seniors can swim for at least 15-30 minutes daily taking care to see that they always avoid the deep end of the pool.
Seniors can resort to Yoga for strengthening their knees. Simple Yoga poses like Surya Namaskar, Vriskhasana and Utkatasana can help elders to exercise their knees. But elders must always practice Yoga under the guidance of a good teacher to avoid any mistakes that may aggravate the knee pain.
Simple Yoga poses done for 10-15 minutes a day can help elders improve the mobility of their knees.
5. Strength Training
Muscle weakness and loss of bone density are common in older adults. This can be alleviated through effective strength training. Elders must opt for simple strength training exercises like arm and knee raises, leg extensions etc that build bone density and knee strength
Seniors must do only strength training with minimum weights and less resistance.
Senior-friendly exercises that can be done without knee pain
Here are some senior-friendly exercises do not cause any knee pain and can be safely done by elders.
- Knee straightening exercises
These can be done sitting on the chair. Inhale while resting the knee down and exhale as you straighten the knee out. Repeat slowly 5-10 minutes
2. Knee squats
Use a chair’s back to hold on for balance. Inhale deeply. Now squat slowly as you exhale. Repeat 5 times slowly.
3. Calf raises
Stand with your back against the wall, feet apart slightly and inhale deeply. Now lift your feet on your toes slowly as you exhale.
All these senior-friendly exercises are part of the activities at assisted living and done under expert supervision.
Knee strength is key to senior mobility in their aged years. All these senior-friendly exercises help remain active and agile without knee pain.