GenWise Tips
8 min read

Exercises for Seniors: Addressing Common Health Concerns

Learn how seniors can stay active and independent with tailored exercise routines.
Exercises for Seniors: Addressing Common Health Concerns
Written by
Published on

For many seniors, staying active and fit is a top priority to maintain health and independence. Yet, certain health conditions can make this challenging. The good news is there are simple modifications that can be made to accommodate conditions like arthritis, high blood pressure, and balance issues.

Focusing on low-impact and chair-based exercises are excellent ways for seniors to stay physically active while avoiding injury or exacerbating health issues.

Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

Exercise provides significant benefits for seniors’ health and quality of life. Regular physical activity helps maintain strength and flexibility, improves balance and mobility, and lowers the risk of disease.

Improved Strength and Flexibility

Exercise stimulates the release of hormones that promote the growth of muscle and bone. Weight training with dumbbells or resistance bands 2-3 times a week can help combat age-related muscle loss and keep joints flexible. Even simple stretches and yoga can make a big difference.

Better Balance and Mobility

Balance and mobility tend to decline with age, but exercise helps slow or prevent these changes. Activities like tai chi or yoga focus on flexibility, balance, and coordination. Walking, whether outside or on a treadmill, also helps keep seniors steady on their feet and able to get around independently.

Lower Disease Risk

Regular exercise lowers the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer. Aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming or light jogging 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes can have significant cardiovascular benefits for seniors. Strength training also helps control blood sugar levels and support bone health.

In summary, while ageing brings certain unavoidable health changes, exercise remains one of the best ways for seniors to maintain independence, boost mood and cognition, strengthen relationships, and add healthy years to their lives. Any activity that gets seniors moving can have meaningful benefits, so find exercises you genuinely enjoy and stick with them. Your body and mind will thank you.

Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors to Consider

Seniors should focus on low-impact exercises that are easy on the joints but still provide health benefits. Some excellent options to consider include:

Cardiovascular Strength

Going for a walk is a great form of low-impact exercise for seniors. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking most days of the week. Walking provides cardiovascular exercise and helps strengthen muscles without straining joints. Look for walking paths in parks or trails in your neighbourhood.

Light Strength Building

Using dumbbells or resistance bands, seniors can do simple strength training exercises like arm curls, shoulder presses, and leg extensions. Start with 2-3 pound weights and do 2 sets of 10-15 reps of each exercise. Increase weight and reps over time as strength builds up.

Bone Density

Bones become less dense over time, increasing the risk of conditions like osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises that put force on the bones, such as walking, jogging, and strength training, can help maintain and even build bone density. Activities where your feet and legs support your body weight, like walking and jogging, are especially beneficial for bone health.

Balance and Flexibility

Balance and flexibility tend to decrease with age, making falls more likely. Exercises that improve range of motion and stability are key. Yoga, tai chi, and stretching are excellent for both balance and flexibility. Movements like hip openers, torso twists, and standing leg raises can help maintain a full range of motion. Balance exercises such as standing on one leg, heel-to-toe walking, and chair squats build core stability.

Heart Health

Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and improves circulation. Walking, swimming or light jogging a few times a week can help maintain heart health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

Staying active with the right exercises for your needs and abilities is vital for health and independence as you age.

Some key things to remember on Exercises for Seniors:

Start slow and build up gradually. Seniors should start with just 10-15 minutes a day 2-3 times a week, then increase the duration and frequency over time as their endurance improves. Rushing into an intense routine can lead to injury or burnout.

Focus on balance and flexibility. Exercises like tai chi, yoga, and stretching help improve balance, range of motion, and flexibility. This lowers the risk of falls and makes daily activities easier.

Include strength training. Using weights or resistance bands 2-3 times a week builds muscle strength. Stronger muscles make it easier to do chores, walk, climb stairs, and stay independent. Start with just 1-2 pound weights and build up slowly.

Choose low-impact options. Walking, swimming or water aerobics, light gardening, and riding a stationary bike are easy on the joints but provide an effective cardio workout. High-impact exercises like running can be jarring and stressful for seniors.

Stay safe. Exercise on flat, even ground and use a chair for support if needed. Wear proper footwear and comfortable, loose clothing. Have someone spot them when doing balance or strength exercises. Stay hydrated and don’t push through pain.

Make it social. Exercising with others provides motivation and accountability. Seniors can join a local gym or community center, sign up for a class, walk with a friend, or just get outside around others. Social interaction and sunlight also help combat depression and improve mood.

Creating an exercise plan tailored to their needs and abilities allows seniors to continue an active lifestyle safely and confidently. With the proper precautions taken, exercise can significantly benefit both the physical and mental well-being of seniors.


Staying active as we get older is crucial for maintaining independence, mobility, and overall health. While ageing brings certain challenges, focusing on gentle exercises tailored to address common senior health issues can help significantly improve quality of life.

Doing chair exercises, walking, swimming or Tai Chi are all great ways for seniors to keep muscles strong, joints flexible, and balance in check. For those with health issues like arthritis or diabetes, low-impact workouts and resistance training under the guidance of a doctor can help manage symptoms and slow disease progression.

The key is to start slow and build up gradually. Staying socially engaged and exercising with friends or family members adds motivation and accountability. Growing older may be inevitable, but with the right exercise plan ageing gracefully and happily is absolutely within our control.

To priorities your health, and be socially active in doing so – connect on GenWise Events and join our relaxing yoga, and meditation sessions everyday!