The Best Exercises for Seniors Experiencing Chronic Pain
Many seniors live day-to-day with chronic pain. It’s exhausting and can keep seniors from moving around. While medications and treatment certainly help manage chronic pain, exercise is one of the best ways to manage chronic pain. Exercises can be tailored to their ability level and are a great way to have social interaction too! If your senior loved one experiences chronic pain, try these exercises for chronic pain.
Yoga isn’t just for breathing and meditation! Yoga exercises are great ways to manage chronic pain plus maintain strength and flexibility. This is also a very versatile way to exercise. Advanced to beginner level can benefit from yoga. Yoga can be done solo or in a group class setting. Many senior centers offer yoga classes that are designed for seniors.
Yoga promotes relaxation and helps manage stress. These can all relieve your senior loved one’s chronic pain. You can easily find yoga class videos online or search for a senior citizen yoga class in your community.
Water exercises are perfect for seniors because they are low impact. Water aerobics allows seniors to get the necessary aerobic workout without causing more damage or stress to their bodies. If a senior is suffering from chronic pain, water aerobics is an excellent exercise. Once again, you can likely find a water aerobics group class for seniors at a community or senior center.
By exercising in water, your body is more supported, thus reducing the impact on joints and other areas that cause chronic pain. Water exercises also support a full range of motion of your body, promote healthy bone mass, and increase strength and flexibility. All excellent outcomes when managing chronic pain!
Do you feel unconfident about where to start with exercises for your senior loved one? Try starting with a neighborhood walk! Walking is a very beneficial exercise for seniors with chronic pain and doesn’t cost anything or require extra equipment. This is the perfect exercise to get other family members, friends, and even the dog involved too!
Important things to remember with walking as an exercise with chronic pain is to start slowly and don’t overdo it. Maybe start with just a walk to the mailbox and then gradually build up to a walk around the block. Walking works out every part of your body and is a great exercise for building endurance, strength, and mobility.
Stretching is a necessary part of every workout, but it can also be a great exercise. For off days, stretching is a good way to encourage movement even if your senior isn’t feeling up to full workouts. Stretching exercises can range from sitting to standing to floor exercises. Of course, it always helps to have another person guide and assist a senior with stretching exercises.
Stretching encourages flexibility and improves range of motion. Better mobility will help your senior stay independent and help reduce chronic pain. Your senior parent’s therapists or medical team may have stretching exercises designed specifically for their condition and ability level. In addition, other general stretching exercises include back stretches, inner thigh stretches, ankle stretches, and back of leg stretches. It’s crucial for your senior loved one to listen to their body and not stretch so far it causes pain.
Riding a bike is an excellent low-impact exercise to get your senior loved one moving! If they are able, riding a bike outside has many benefits, but a stationary bike works just as well. Bike riding builds endurance, balance, and strength, which can all help with chronic pain. Not to mention, riding a bike is great for your senior’s heart health!
Your senior can join a local gym or senior center to enjoy the stationary bike. Outdoor bike riding is an activity the whole family will enjoy as your senior loved one gets great exercise. Whether they choose a stationary bike or a traditional bike, it’s important that your senior starts slow and builds up safely.
Strength training isn’t just for bodybuilders! Seniors with chronic pain can significantly benefit from strength training. This type of exercise can easily work with their exact ability and comfort level. Small weights or bodyweight can strengthen muscles and give your senior loved one more mobility. If your senior can continue using their muscles and make them stronger with strength training, it will be easier to do their normal activities without pain.
Strength training exercises should always be supervised and approved by your senior loved one’s medical provider. If your senior doesn’t have access to weights, get creative! For example, carrying groceries and using a resistance band are ways you can build strength.
Chronic pain is an unfortunate part of life for many seniors. Exercises and daily movement are the best ways to manage chronic pain and enjoy life. An in-home caregiver can provide extra support with mobility care and exercise therapy if your senior loved one needs more help. Caregivers United offers the best long-term and short-term in-home senior care. Our caregivers give the best quality care to your senior loved one and can help with a variety of needs. Request a free courtesy visit today to learn more about how we can serve your senior loved one.