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Archive for November, 2016

Exercise Routines for Older Adults. By Our Student Pharmacist, Sarah Redmond.

Exercise is an important part of staying healthy at any age. There are four types of exercises that are recommended: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Maintaining each of these activities has great health benefits like lowering blood pressure, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis, and preventing falls. Exercise can also help to maintain the ease of activities of daily living like getting around the house, cooking meals, and getting dressed.

Below I outline each of the four types of exercises and include a suggestion of an exercise to start with in each category. Any physical activity will benefit your health. Try starting with just one exercise and then gradually work to incorporate one of each type of exercise into your daily routine.

Endurance: Think of endurance activities as ones that get your blood pumping. These activities would include walking, running, biking, and climbing stairs. These activities particularly help your heart and lungs. The great thing about endurance activities is that there is no equipment needed. Call up a friend or put on your favorite music and take a walk outside or in a mall.

Strength: Strength exercises maintain muscle and bone mass. Maintaining muscle mass is important to be able to lift things like groceries, heavy bags, and cute grandchildren.


Overarm press:

  • Sit in an arm-less chair with your feet on the ground and your back straight.
  • Grip the weights or weighted objects (you could use cans of soup) in your hands with your palms forward.
  • Start with your hands at shoulder height, arms bent at 90 degrees at the elbow.
  • Straighten your arms over your head.
  • Lower your arms back to shoulder height.
  • Repeat ten times and then rest.
  • Repeat this activity three times.

Balance: Balance is very important to maintain, because it will prevent falls. There are many serious complications from falls, especially if you take certain medications like blood thinners.


Stand on one foot:

  • Stand behind a stable support like a counter or the back of a chair.
  • With your hand on the stable support, slowly pick up one foot, shifting your weight to balance on the other.
  • Count to five.
  • Repeat with the other foot.

Flexibility: Flexibility can help someone maintain their independence if they can easily perform their activities of daily living like getting dressed and putting shoes on. An easy way to become more flexible is to deliberately simulate doing these activities.

Forward bend:

  • Sit in an arm-less chair with your feet on the ground and back straight.
  • Move your chest forward without moving your body off the chair. Elongate your spine.
  • Continue with moving your chest down towards your knees, placing your hands on the side of your calves.
  • Try to touch your heels.
  • Stay here for ten seconds.
  • Slowly straighten your back, lifting your chin and head last.



Back 1. Go4Life. National Institute of Aging at National Institute of Health. https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/exercises/back-1. Accessed October 27, 2016

Building up the Benefits. Go4Life. National Institute of Aging at National Institute of Health. https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/BuildingBenefits.pdf Accessed October 27, 2016

Exercise for Seniors. Medline Plus. US National Library of medicine. March 25, 2015 https://medlineplus.gov/exerciseforseniors.html. Accessed October 27, 2016

Overhead arm raise. Go4Life. National Institute of Aging at National Institute of Health. https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/exercises/overhead-arm-raise. Accessed October 27, 2016

Stand on one foot. Go4Life. National Institute of Aging at National Institute of Health. https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/exercises/stand-one-foot. Accessed October 27, 2016

Wein, Harrison. You’re Never Too Old. NIH News in Health. US Department of Health and Human Services. December 2011. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/Dec2011/Feature2. Accessed October 27, 2016