Engaging in physical activity can reduce diabetes, strengthen the heart, and lower the risk of depression and a variety of other health issues. However, seniors need to take some precautions with exercise because their bodies tend to be more fragile than younger people’s bodies. An injury while exercising could take longer to heal or cause complications for an elderly person. The La Mesa senior care experts at Coast Care Partners have put together a list of six exercises seniors should avoid doing.
Deadlifts are a favorite exercise of bodybuilders, involving lifting a heavy weight off the floor. Though deadlifting can be done by seniors with years of lifting experience, it is not ideal for those who are just getting into strength training. Many seniors have back and posture issues that make it difficult to lift the weights correctly, and incorrect form can greatly damage back, shoulder, and arm muscles.
2. Long Runs
The senior years are not the best time to start training for a marathon. Each step puts several times a person’s body weight on the knee and foot joints, which can lead to leg injuries that make mobility difficult. Seniors can get the cardiovascular benefits of lengthy runs by swimming or using a joint-friendly elliptical machine.
3. Leg Presses
Leg press machines are common in most gyms, but exercising on one of these machines can be extremely damaging for elderly people. The machine requires leaning back on a flat bench while pushing against a weight with the feet. This action flattens the natural arch of the spine, which could cause damage to the lumbar spinal discs.
The back becomes increasingly fragile with age, so crunches are quite risky for seniors. When done incorrectly, crunches can quickly cause painful injuries to the joints and muscles in the back. Even when done properly, the repetitive curving of the spine could cause some issues. Instead of doing crunches, seniors should try some simple planks and leg lifts to strengthen the core.
5. Stair Climbs
Marching back and forth on a gym machine or running up and down long flights of stairs are bad exercise options for seniors. Many seniors have difficulty maintaining balance as they age, and stairs cause over half of all falls. Leg muscles can easily be targeted with other exercises, so stair climbing is not worth the risk of falling and becoming injured.
Squats pose several risks. If the knees go over the toes too far during a squat, excessive pressure is placed on the knee joints, which can greatly damage the sensitive joint, especially when trying squats with weights. For seniors with balance issues, squats are a particularly bad idea because it is easy to lose balance and fall over while trying to rise from a squat.
Seniors who need assistance with exercise can benefit from the help of an elderly caregiver. La Mesa, California, families can rely on the dedicated caregivers at Coast Care Partners for a variety of other services as well, including help with cooking, bathing, and light housekeeping. Call 619-354-2544 today to learn more.