Millions of older adults are now spending more time at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting shelter-in-place and social distancing orders. Unfortunately, that’s keeping many homebound seniors from getting to the gym for the regular exercise they need to keep their minds and bodies fit. As a result, many are seeking alternative ways to stay in shape while self-isolating. If you’re currently serving as an informal caregiver for an aging in place loved one, here are some low impact forms of exercise that can easily be done at home.

How Low Impact Exercise Benefits Seniors

Many people aged 60-and-above suffer from joint and muscle pain flareups, along with chronic health conditions like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease, that limit their physical activity. As a result, it’s not a good idea for them to participate in high impact forms of exercise like weightlifting, running or aerobics.

On the other hand, studies have found that seniors who regularly participate in low impact workouts still enjoy many of the same benefits as do individuals who do high-impact exercises.

Here are some of the positives that seniors derive from low impact workouts:

  • Relieves stress
  • Improves cardiovascular endurance
  • Increases muscle and bone mass
  • Helps normalize blood sugar levels
  • Builds self-esteem
  • Improves flexibility, balance and coordination
  • Sharpens mental acuity which helps prevent cognitive decline

As you can see, getting an aging loved one who’s homebound right now to participate in a low impact exercise program is a winning proposition when it comes to keeping them happy and healthy!

Great Low Impact Workouts for the Elderly

The goal of your senior is to get 150 minutes of low impact exercise per week. If it’s been a while since they last exercised, before getting started be sure that they’ve been cleared by their doctor.

Here are some great low impact forms of exercise for older adults:

Walking

Walking is an aerobic exercise that’s also gentle on the back, knees and ankles. Taking a 2 to 3 mile walk several times a week will help lower stress and improve cardiovascular endurance. Before they hit the road, make sure that your senior has a good, supportive pair of walking shoes. And, also remind them to practice social distancing when they see other people.

Swimming

If there’s a pool on the premises, encourage your loved one to swim or do water aerobics 3 to 5X per week. Water is very buoyant, which means it supports a person’s bo