Elderly Exercise Plans

An all-around exercise plan for senior health is meant to maintain your circulation, weight, bone strength and muscle tone. An ideal program combines activities to build flexibility, balance, strength and endurance. If you’re already moderately active, creating a long-range exercise plan will help you stay that way. Check with your health-care provider before beginning any new exercise.


Start a senior health regimen by stretching. You’ll prevent muscle pulls and tears as you begin physical activity in earnest. The National Institute on Aging recommends performing a range of exercises that stretch the whole body and doing each stretch three to five times.

Elderly people can also benefit from stretches that improve posture. One example is a chest stretch. While seated in an armless chair with your feet flat on the floor, raise your arms to shoulder height, palms outward. Move your arms back slowly, pinching your shoulder blades, until you feel a pleasant stretch. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat.

Aerobic Exercise

According to AARP, walking is a good method for building endurance. If you have arthritis or osteoporosis issues, you can lower the impact on bones and joints by water walking with a weight belt. Some community pools have resistance wave machines that increase your physical activity level.

Additional aerobic exercises that improve endurance include dancing and using a stationary bike or treadmill. Swimming is a good exercise plan for senior health, but it must be combined with weight-bearing activities to promote bone strength.

Weight Training

AARP reports that most people can safely include weight lifting in a senior health exercise program. Begin with one or two pound weights and increase the weight if possible. Use hand, wrist or ankle weights to work different parts of the body.

One physical activity to fit into your exercise plan is the knee curl, to which you can add ankle weights. The NIA suggests standing behind a sturdy chair and holding the back of it for balance. Lift one leg back from the heel, without bending your knee or pointing your toes, and then breathe in. Slowly exhale as you pull your heel up toward your buttocks as far as is comfortable. Hold for one second; then inhale as you slowly return your foot to the floor in a standing position. Repeat 10 times and then work the other leg.

About the Author

Nancy Clarke began writing in 1988 after achieving her Bachelor of Arts in English and has edited books on medicine, diet, senior care and other health topics. Her related affiliations include work for the American Medical Association and Oregon Health Plan.