5 Exercise Ideas to Help Seniors and the Elderly Get Fit

Elderly couple enjoying a walk outdoors

It’s necessary to change up your workout routine at a certain age to account for changes in health and your ability to perform specific exercises.

Seniors may not be able to keep up with the younger crowd and do some of the demanding physical activities that are popular in the early and middle-aged years, which is why at Calisthenics 101 we’re working on a series of fitness content aimed at seniors and the elderly.

Regardless of your actual age, it is essential that they keep up your level of physical activity, and in this post, we have a few activities that you can try to keep in shape and to stave off disease and the effects of ageing.

If you are looking to get back into fitness as a senior, then these are perfect for you. These exercises don’t require any expertise and they are all reasonably easy to start with.

You may have been neglecting exercise for years, but that’s okay, as these activities will help you to get back in shape no matter how fit you are.

1. Recumbent Biking

While regular cycling may be out of the question for many seniors due to back problems or a lack of physical fitness, a recumbent bike can be a great alternative.

You can use either a regular bike or a stationary one, and it doesn't take up as much room as a treadmill. The advantage of using this kind of bike over a more traditional one is that it will be more ergonomic and support your back by spreading out your body weight evenly over the entire machine. It burns just as many calories as a conventional bike, but it is easier on your body and won’t cause back problems, which makes it ideal for seniors.

We recommend the JLL RE100 Recumbent Exercise Bike for a high quality and affordable bike you can use at home.

2. Bodyweight Exercising

Strength training is an essential part of senior fitness, as it helps with stair climbing and basic mobility. If you want to be sure that you can get around as you age, then you will want to do some regular strength training. Now, this doesn't have to require huge weights and a lot of body strength. Bodyweight training consists of exercises that use your body's weight and the force of gravity to create resistance. You may have trouble doing some of them if you are overweight or out of shape, but you can pick and choose what works best for you.

Mountain climbers, squats, reverse lunches, glute bridges and crunches are all great bodyweight exercises that most people can do. Just pick your pace and the activities that are the simplest for you to do and make them a regular part of your workout routine.

You can also purchase a set of resistance bands and follow a simple workout at home, as shown in the video below by the Brtish Heart Foundation. Read our buying guide to resistance bands here for an idea on which bands to buy. 

3. Jogging

Group of people running

The great thing about jogging is that you can do it at whatever pace is most comfortable for you. Some people prefer a straight out run, while others want a brisk walking pace to keep them moving but not to get a serious sweat going.

If you haven’t been exercising for a long time, then we suggest starting slowly and working your way up to something more demanding. You don't want to start right into a run until you know that your body can handle it.

It's a good idea to try to work up to jogging as a regular form of exercise, as studies have shown that it can primarily keep you younger. You may also want to take a jogging partner with you, for company and safety.

4. Playing Cricket

Group of people playing Cricket

If you have a group of friends to play with, cricket can be a great way to interact socially and get some good exercise.

Because cricket can be physically demanding, you want to make sure you are using the right equipment when you play. You can find out what gear would be best for senior cricket players using resources like Bat Critic.

Like any activity on this list, you want to start things out easy and work your way up to the more strenuous and demanding exercise. That's why it is good to play with people your age, if possible.

Cricket builds eye-to-hand coordination, improves mobility, boosts your stamina, and helps you to have better balance.

5. Golfing

A person playing Golf and putting the ball towards the hole

Golf is one of those great sports that you can play no matter how old you get.

As you age, you adjust your playing speed to compensate for the effects of Father Time. Golf is a decent way to get some exercise and spend some time outdoors. It’s something you can play with friends and family and strengthen that social aspect of your life. It’s also a sport that you can get into no matter how inexperienced you may be at it.You’ll improve your flexibility and circulation just by walking the course and swinging at the ball.

If you are having trouble getting enough distance or tracking the tiny ball over long distances, there are ways to handle these problems.

You can adapt to your changing capabilities and still enjoy a great game regardless of age.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few activities that seniors can do to maintain good health and get back into exercising at any age. You don't have to let seniority keep you from staying fit, energetic, and healthy, as long as you find a physical activity that you love doing and that you can do at your speed!