The prescription for exercise is universally accepted as it is beneficial for everybody regardless of age or health condition. Despite this fact, research shows that 75% of Australians 18-64 years of age do not meet the minimum guidelines for physical activity and strength exercises. Not surprisingly, the level of inactivity also rises with increasing age.
One of the most-cited barriers to physical activity is the lack of access to facilities. Closely related to this concern is the distance to the nearest gym or exercise facility and the costs of getting there and back. However, these shouldn’t deter anyone from exercising as there are a lot of ways to be physically active. The gym is just one of the many venues for exercise. There are also less expensive or free alternatives that you can pursue like running outdoors, playing sports out in the open, or working out at home.
Why do workouts at home?
Sure, working out in the gym can be motivating. Paying membership fees alone can provide a powerful incentive to exercise. Gym classes also confer some advantages – the companionship and inspiration of fellow members, the opportunity to learn good exercise techniques, and the chance to sample the latest exercise trends, among many others.
However, training at home has its own share of wonderful benefits that may outweigh the advantages that gym workouts may offer:
- Saves you time – no need to travel to the gym and back, no need to wait for your turn in using an exercise machine, station, or equipment
- Less expensive – you can train with a minimum of equipment at home, and you don’t have to pay membership and monthly fees. Even if you decide to invest in equipment, these are yours to use indefinitely without extra costs. Some tools and equipment to consider include a workout mat, hand weights or resistance bands, stability ball, and skipping rope.
- More convenient – you can choose your own time to train, even squeeze in a workout in between tasks or appointments. Having said that, it’s best to set aside time for your workout so you can establish the habit of exercising.
- Less intimidating – it’s easy to get conscious of your body or the way you move in a gym full of fit people especially when you’re just starting out. Working out at home helps you get over that barrier.
- Supportive environment – Training at home in the presence of your family and friends can provide a supportive environment that can motivate you to exercise more intensely and more often.
- Train at your own pace – Home workouts allow you to train with no pressure to keep up with other people.
- Helps you be more consistent – The key to getting optimal results is consistency and being able to train at home may help you stick to your exercise regimen regardless of weather and traffic conditions.
Home workout routines for older adults
It’s no secret that exercise is an excellent prescription at any age. It’s even more critical though for older adults to be physically active for a lot of good reasons, with functional capacity and independence among them. Here, we share some useful exercise tips for older adults:
- Start slow – there’s no sense injuring yourself by overexertion so start slowly and ease into exercise. Warm up properly before training and use a comfortable range of motion.
- Take note of how your body feels – pay close attention to how your body reacts to exercise. If a movement causes you pain, check your form or find an alternative. Consult a Health Expert or watch training videos from reputable professionals and see what you may be doing wrong. Performing an exercise in front of a mirror can help you observe how you move. Also, take note of the times during the day when you’re most energised so you can schedule your workouts during those periods.
- Take care of your joints – your joints bear the brunt of your body weight during exercise so always protect them. Run, jump, or exercise on a surface that’s kinder to your joints. Use a mat to help absorb the impact of training.
Before embarking on an exercise program, it would be smart to consult with your Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist. They would help guide you in making exercise choices that are safe and effective as well as how to perform the exercises correctly. When you’re ready to train, always allocate enough time for warming up and cooling down to prevent injuries and ward off extreme soreness.
Balance exercises you can do at home
Exercises that build strength and improve posture can help enhance your sense of balance and coordination. These may aid in reducing your risk of falling or slipping. Here are some balance exercises moves you can incorporate into your home workouts:
- Standing March – stand straight with both hands on a walker or support, lift your left knee as high as you can then lower it back to the starting position. Lift your right knee as high as you can then lower it. Do these moves in alternating fashion for 20 repetitions.
- Single/One Leg Balance – hold onto a chair for support, then raise your left knee as high as you can, hold for 20-30 seconds, then lower it back to the starting position. Do the same with your right leg. Alternately do both legs 2 to 3 times.
- Heel and Toe Raises – With both hands on a chair or walker for support, raise both heels and balance on the balls of your feet for 3-5 seconds. Shift weight to the heels then raise your toes. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
- Yoga Tree Pose – Feet shoulder-width apart, stand while holding one hand to the chest, the other hand on a sturdy chair for support. Raise your right leg straight up then turn inward, resting the sole against the left thigh. Hold for 30 seconds or longer. Return to the starting position. Do the same movement with the left leg. Repeat at least 3 times.
- Lunges – stand straight with hands on your hips, step right foot forward by bending on the knee and lower yourself until the right thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to the starting position. Do the same for the left leg. Repeat 5 to 10 times for each leg.
- Sit to Stand, Stand to Sit – sit at the edge of a chair, then place both hands on each side of the seat. Slowly breathe in then breathe out as you stand up slowly. Pause for a full breath. Then go back to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Coordination exercises for home workouts
While balance exercises can help you avoid incidences of falls, motor coordination is essential in accomplishing both simple and complex everyday tasks. Coordination exercises can be employed to improve proprioception, balance, and timing. The following are some excellent coordination exercises that you can include in your training:
- Standing balance exercise with ball toss – good for improving eye and hand coordination. Beginners can stand and keep both feet on the floor. Toss a soft medicine ball into each hand, the eyes following the ball’s movement.
- Dribble, walk, then catch – good for developing both eye and hand as well as hand and feet coordination. Walk back and forth while bouncing and catching a tennis ball.
- Jump rope – aside from helping build up endurance and stamina, this exercise may also aid in synchronising your hand, foot, and eye movements.
Training for flexibility at home
Ageing affects our bodies through biological changes that may make movement challenging. Flexibility training can help mitigate these changes and prevent injury while promoting mobility. The following are some great stretching exercises for older adults:
- Quadriceps stretches – holding onto a sturdy chair for support with your left hand, balance on one leg. Bend your right knee, grab the leg by the ankle, and pull the foot towards your right glute. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then return to the starting position. Do the same using your left leg. Stretches the front of the leg.
- Hamstring Stretches – sit on a firm surface, extend the left leg, slowly lean forward and reach out to the knee or ankle. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then return to the starting position. Do the same movement using the other leg. Stretches the back of the leg.
- Knee to Chest Stretches – sit on a sturdy chair, grab your right knee, then pull it to your chest. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then return to the starting position. Do the same for the other leg. Stretches the hips.
- Shoulder Stretches – stand or sit with your back straight, grasp the left arm with the right, and pull the arm across the chest, feeling the stretch in your left shoulder. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Do the same with the other arm. Stretches the shoulders.
- Side Stretches – With feet shoulder-width apart, stand and raise your arms over the head, then lean to the left side. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds then return to the starting position. Do the same for the right side. Stretches the upper body.
Notice: The information provided here is general in nature and does not take your individual circumstances into consideration. This presentation aims to demonstrate accurate exercise techniques and is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-management of your medical condition. If you experience persistent discomfort or challenges when exercising, please consult a qualified Exercise Physiologist for guidance. Reach out to our experienced Allied Health Professionals via 1300 090 931.
How to make home workouts safe and effective
While working out at home has its advantages, it also necessitates the need to observe some guidelines and precautions so you can work out safely, obtain results, and avoid injuries that can stall your gains:
- Wear proper footwear – choose good-fitting footwear that supports the kind of exercises that you do. Just because you’re working out at home doesn’t mean you should wear moccasins or flip-flops as these might cause you to slip and fall.
- Choose the proper attire – pick one that allows freedom of movement without chafing your skin, fits your body without having to keep adjusting, and is made from a material that wicks away perspiration so you can keep cool and comfortable.
- Check your exercise equipment – inspect if your mat is worn-out and slippery; check your dumbbell if the plates are locked securely; examine your jump rope for fraying.
- Clear out space for working out – Have ample space for your activity and clear your space of anything that can lead to tripping, falling, or injuring yourself.
- Hydrate well – have a water bottle ready and drink plenty of water throughout your workout. Being dehydrated can make you feel fatigued and tired early in your exercise session.
- Make time for warming up and cooling down – Properly warming up before your exercise prepares your body for the exertion. Cooling down after your workout, on the other hand, can help prevent injury and reduce soreness.
- Avoid overtraining – some of the pitfalls of training at home is doing the same thing repeatedly and doing your routine too often without allowing enough time for recovery. The general rule is to allow at least 48 hours before working the same muscle group again.
- Balance your training – it’s ideal to strike a balance between strength training and cardio workouts so you can derive optimal benefits from each type of exercise.
- Observe proper form – Just because you’re working out at home doesn’t mean you can use loose or sloppy form – that’s an invitation to injury. There are books as well as training videos from reputable experts that can help you observe good form while performing an exercise.
Use the best home workout app
MyHealthPal, Healthstin’sinnovative online platform app is an excellent resource and one of the best home workout apps available for providing training videos that can guide you in using good form while working out. MyHealthPal provides you with over 15,000 narrated training videos to help you train safely and effectively at home.
Aside from that, MyHealthPal also offers immediate access to relevant health information as well as Allied Health Services anytime and anywhere with just a few keystrokes, eliminating the need to spend on transport and travel.
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