Senior People Workout Plan: Safely Get Moving

Key Items

  • Older adults need to exercise because they experience problems associated with aging.

  • An effective senior workout plan involves improving balance and flexibility.

  • Make a senior workout plan personalized to get the most benefits from the workout.

It's normal to want people around forever — including yourself! You want to maintain your independence, which is inspiring but devastating when you slowly lose your physical and mental capacities. Finding a senior workout plan can help maintain happiness and health for as long as possible.

Unless someone finds the fountain of youth, getting older is inevitable. That doesn't mean it has to be downright awful. Age gracefully by starting a senior workout plan.

Preventing Falls and Effects of Aging

Regular exercise improves health, mood, and physical functioning in older adults. It can also aid in preventing falls and slows the onset of problems associated with aging.

Exercising improves and prevents muscle loss, weakness, and fatigue. It improves the fine motor skills and movements required for effective balance. Working out strengthens the smaller muscles that aid in standing and walking, making it easier to balance.

Older adults also benefit from working out because it improves depression and chronic pain. Depression is common in older adults because they dwell on their past, fear death, and lose their abilities. Chronic pain is widespread in older folks, but exercise relieves it.

Stages of Aging

Understanding aging is the first step in developing a workable workout plan. There are four stages of aging: self-sufficiency, interdependence, dependence, and crisis.


When older adults are self-sufficient, they can live on their own and complete activities of daily living with little disruption. They still struggle and need you to encourage them to be independent and continue their self-sufficiency.

Self-sufficient older adults can experience depression and slowed reaction times. They move slower and more deliberately. They are aware of their aging bodies and growing limitations. They may worry about the future or look to peers for comfort and support.


As people age, they need to depend more on others. It might be time for home modifications. Some older adults like to downsize or move to a one-floor residence if possible. Less yard work is also a priority for the aging population.

When moving isn't an option, consider modifying your home. Install bars in the showers. If the bedroom is on the second floor, relocate it to a downstairs bedroom. Install a dishwasher and look into automatic robot vacuums to make chores easier.


Having to depend on others is frightening and disheartening. During this stage, older adults are unable to care for themselves. You may need help eating, staying alert, or going to the bathroom. The loss of mental and physical abilities is depressing and confusing.

Often adults in this stage move in with family members or places providing around-the-clock care. You need time with friends and family. Therapy or counseling also helps to cope with losing independence.


In the crisis stage, older people require immediate care and assistance, usually due to extreme physical or mental conditions. Strokes, heart attacks, and falls are examples of crises.

During this time, you require extra levels of care. You may feel wholly disoriented or immobile. These crisis moments, whether temporary or permanent, impact the rest an adult's life.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, "[O]ne out of every four older adults will fall each year in the United States, making falls a public health concern, particularly among the aging population."

As people age, they have an increased risk of falls. Some factors that contribute to falls are:

  • Medication

  • Muscle weakness or loss

  • Hypertension/hypotension

  • High/low blood sugar

  • Worsened eyesight

  • Delayed reaction time

  • Poor hand-eye coordination

Falls are dangerous for older adults because they drastically change their lives and might even lead to death. Once an older adult breaks a bone, it's almost impossible for them to fully recover. Soft tissue injuries, like head or internal organ damage, constitute a significant risk for older adults after a fall.

Workout Plans

A workout plan designed for seniors allows you to improve your life. It;s a structured way to increase strength, improve mobility, and decrease problems from chronic illnesses. Endurance improves as their workouts increase.

A senior workout plan has two main parts: balance and flexibility.


Older adults improve balance through several exercises. The primary way to improve balance is to work on the muscles in the legs and back.

There are several effective exercises to improve balance.


A sit-to-stand is excellent for strengthening the glutes, hips, and thighs. Stand in front of a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart to perform a sit-to-stand. While keeping your back straight, sit down. Don't let your knees go over your toes. Stand back up.

Try not to use anything to balance yourself as you sit and stand. Keep a cane or railing nearby to provide stability if you feel like you're going to fall. Perform sit-to-stands 7 – 10 times.

Toe Push and Pulls

Toe push and pulls benefit the delicate foot and ankle muscles that keep you on your feet. Toe push and pulls are safest when sitting down.

Start with your feet flat on the ground. Push your tiptoes down and raise your heels off the ground. Lower your heel back down and stretch your toes towards your shin. Repeat 10 times. Keep movements slow and controlled.

Side Steps

Side steps work the muscles on the outside areas of the leg and hip. Keeping the knees slightly bent while facing forward, take five steps to the left. Keep your toes pointing ahead at all times. Turn only your head. Take five steps to the right and then to the left. Repeat three times on each side.

Knee Highs

The muscles in the core play a significant role in balance. Strengthening the core addresses back pain, stability, and mobility.

To perform knee highs, stand near something to steady yourself. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Gently raise one knee until it is parallel with your hip. Slowly lower it.

When you're lifting your leg, focus on using your abs to pull your knee up rather than using your hips. Repeat 7 – 10 times on each leg.

Weight Shifts

Shifting your weight between feet improves equilibrium. Perform a weight shift by standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lean to the left, shifting your weight onto the left leg. Then shift your weight to the right leg.

Leaning left and right strengthens the hip and leg muscles that catch you when you stumble.

Tight Line Walk

Place a six-foot tape on the ground. If you don't have tape, use a line of floor tiles or another long straight line. Stand with both feet on the line, one in front of the other. Walk the length of the line and place each heel to toe.

Stay on the line and only step off if you're going to fall. Stretch your arms beside you, like the letter "T," for more balance.


Flexibility is vital for older adults because it improves mobility, blood flow, and balance. Flexibility also reduces the risk of falls, muscle injuries, and chronic pain.

Improve flexibility in the following ways.

Across Chest Stretch

Stretching the arm and shoulder muscles reduces tension and pain. To perform this stretch, stick one arm straight out beside you. Gently move the arm across your chest and place your opposite hand on the back of your arm. Gently pull your arm toward you.

You feel this stretch mainly in the upper arm.

Sit and Reach

Did you know that tight hamstrings cause tension headaches? Stretching the legs improves walking, back pain, and joint stiffness.

To perform a sit and reach, find a flat surface and stretch your legs straight out in front of you. Sit up straight and lean forward, reaching for your toes. You don't have to touch your toes. Touching your shins also works. Hold for 10 – 15 seconds and sit back up. Repeat three times, gently attempting to go further each time.

Kneeling Lunge

The kneeling lunge is excellent for stretching the hips and back.

Get down on your knees and grab something for support. Use a pillow or cushion under your knees. Raise your right knee and place your right foot flat on the ground. Your left knee and shin are still on the ground. Gently push your hips forward, placing more weight on the right foot.

You feel this stretch in the front of the thighs and the lower back. Hold for 10 – 15 seconds and repeat on the other leg. Repeat two to three times on each side.

Trunk Twists

The trunk of the body is crucial to all movements in the body. Keeping the abs and back flexible improves digestion, balance, and gait.

To perform a trunk twist, sit up straight in a chair, preferably with a back. Keep your knees and toes straight ahead. Turn your head and body to the right.

At your hips, twist to the right as far as possible. Breathe deeply and hold for about 10 seconds. Return to the front and take a deep breath in and out. Twist to the left as far as possible. Hold for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat two to three times on each side.

Finger Band Spreads

Flexibility applies to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Placing stress on the bones also improves bone strength. Stretching the muscles and tendons in the hands improves arthritis, dexterity, and fine motor movements.

Press all our your fingertips together on one hand. Imagine you are using all five fingers to pick up a bead. Take a small-medium rubber band and place it around your fingers as if you're tying up a group of flower stems. Slowly spread your fingers in a wide circle, stretching the rubber band. Return your fingertips to each other.

Repeat 8 – 10 times, twice on each hand.

Head Rolls

Rolling your head improves blood flow and oxygen circulation in the brain. Improved conditions for the brain benefits mental health and reduces the risk of blood clots and stroke.

To complete a head roll, tilt your right ear to your shoulder. Roll your head down and rest your chin on your chest. Continue rolling and attempt to touch your left ear to your left shoulder. Continue rolling until you're looking straight up at the ceiling. Return your right ear to your right shoulder. Repeat the other way. Wait for about two minutes between stretches.

Only perform this stretch two or three times.

Stay Safe

No matter the workouts you choose, always stay safe. Exercising is riskier for older adults who need specific workouts to stay safe.

Immediately stop any exercise or stretch if you experience:

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Extreme pain

  • Chest pain

  • Light-headedness

  • Heart rate of greater than 150

Speak with a doctor or physical therapist before beginning any new exercise regimen. Ask for advice or suggestions on personalized exercises.

Getting input from a medical professional makes the program more effective because they choose workouts that are specific to problems the older adult is experiencing.

Get Going

Now get going! It's never too late to start working out. One small workout benefits you for the rest of the day. Choosing a great workout plan for senior adults improves balance and flexibility.

Exercise stops or reverses many conditions and problems. Getting your parents to move more ensures they are happier and healthier for longer.

Subscribe to Fit&Fab for more information, advice, and fitness tips — until someone finds the fountain of youth.

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