30-Minute Workout for Older Adults

Independence. It’s a powerful word. Especially as you age. Because independence is life. It’s the freedom to walk down the street unaided for a visit with your neighbor. It’s the power to pick up your grandkids for a sweet snuggle. It’s the energy to grab your golf clubs and putt for par on the back nine. And your path to maintaining independence is rooted in regular exercise.

So let’s get moving. Join 78-year-old Mac McCaffrey for a 30 minute, step-by-step workout as he trains for the National Senior Games with Ageility personal trainer, Adam Boyette. This half-hour senior workout is specifically designed with older adults like you in mind. So you can increase your mobility, improve your balance, build strength, and most of all…live your best life.

Here’s all you’ll need to complete your 30-minute workout:

  • 1 chair
  • 1 hand towel
  • 2 filled water bottles (you’ll use these as weights)

Just remember: Safety is key. So before you begin, make sure the floor around you is clear and that you have an extra chair nearby for added support.

This workout also comes with a supporting guide — a printable PDF document that you can reference again and again. It outlines every exercise you’re about to enjoy. Take a look, print it out, and save it for future use.

Start your 30-minute senior workout with a warm up.

A great warm up is more than just a good idea. It’s an essential part of your workout. So use this time to wake up your muscles and prepare your body for the work ahead. Follow Mac and Adam as they complete a series of stretches that will help get you ready to move.

Best Warm-up Exercises for Seniors

Neck Stretch - Left and Right

Neck Stretch – Left and Right
Slowly bring your right ear to your right shoulder and hold. Then repeat the same movement on the left. Do this three times on each side.

Neck Stretch - Front and Back

Neck Stretch – Front and Back
Slowly bring your chin to your chest and hold. Then look up to the ceiling with your chin up. Repeat this movement three times.

Shoulder Rotations

Shoulder Rotations
Bring your hands to your side and complete 10 forward shoulder rotations, then 10 backward rotations.

Seated Lateral Torso Bend

Seated Lateral Torso Bend
Have a seat in your chair and bring your hands to your side. Reach to your right toward the floor, then to your left. Complete 7 to 10 reaches on each side.

Seated Torso Rotations

Seated Torso Rotations
Cross your hands in front of your body and rotate to your right, then to your left. Complete 10 rotations on each side.

Seated Torso Bend

Seated Torso Bend
Place your hands on your lap and open your legs a little bit. Interlock your fingers, and reach down to the floor. Come back up and repeat 4 times.

Marching High Knees

Marching High Knees
Stand up and find your balance. You can hold onto the back of your chair if needed. Begin to march in place. Complete 12 high-knee movements on each leg.

Single-Leg Hip Circles

Single-Leg Hip Circles
Remain standing and hold onto the back of your chair. Slightly lift one leg and start to move it in circles. Complete 12 leg circles on each side.

Keep moving with the main workout.

Your workout is in full swing now. So grab your towel and your water bottles, because they’re joining the fitness party for this next set of exercises. Watch Mac and Adam while you complete a series of upper and lower-body strength and balance movements.

Set one: Senior fitness – towel exercises.

Seated Straight-Arm Shoulder Raise

Seated Straight-Arm Shoulder Raise
Grip your towel at each end. Start at your knees and raise your towel above your head, keeping tension on the towel. Then lower it back down. Repeat the movement 10 times.

Straight-Arm Steering Wheels

Straight-Arm Steering Wheels
Grip your towel tightly at each end. Keep tension on the towel and rotate from left to right. Repeat the movement 8 times in each direction.

Chest Press with Torso Reach

Chest Press with Torso Reach
Grip your towel tightly at each end. Bring your towel to your chest and reach forward as far as you can. Then straighten back to the starting position. Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times. You can do this exercise standing or sitting.

Tension Pulls

Tension Pulls
Bring your towel to the front and pull it tight like you’re trying to rip it in half. Bring your hands back together, then pull back. Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times.

X-Tension Pulls

X-Tension Pulls
Working in an X-style motion, rotate and pull your towel up and down. Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times.

Standing Straight-Arm Shoulder Raise

Standing Straight-Arm Shoulder Raise
Gripping your towel at each end, pull it tightly while you reach up high as you can. Then bring your arms back down. Repeat this movement 10 to 15 times.

Set two: Senior fitness – upper-body strength with water bottles.

Front Shoulder Raise

Front Shoulder Raise
Hold your two filled water bottles in front of your thighs, then reach up and down. Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times.

Bicep Curl with Shoulder Press

Bicep Curl with Shoulder Press
Hold your two filled water bottles in front of your thighs with your palms facing out. Curl the water bottles up toward your shoulders, then rotate your wrists so your palms are facing out. Push up toward the ceiling. Bring your arms back down to your shoulders and rotate your wrists so your palms are facing in. Curl your arms back down to the starting position. Repeat this movement 12 times.

Lateral Shoulder Raise

Lateral Shoulder Raise
Hold your water bottles down at your sides. Slowly lift your arms out (no higher than shoulder level). Then lower back down. Repeat this movement 12 to 15 times.

Overhead Triceps Extension

Overhead Triceps Extension
Holding your water bottles in each hand, bring your arms up behind your ears and lower your hands. Point your elbows up as high as you can extend your arms toward the ceiling. Then extend back down. Repeat the movement 6 to 10 times.

Skier Triceps Extension

Skier Triceps Extension
Holding your water bottles in each hand, bring your hands up near your armpits, then push your arms back. Repeat this movement 6 to 10 times.

Alternating Bicep Curls

Alternating Bicep Curls
Holding your water bottles in each hand, complete a set of alternating arm curls. Repeat this movement 20 to 25 times on each arm.

Set three: Senior fitness – lower-body strength workout.

Lateral Weight Shifts

Lateral Weight Shifts
Stand behind your chair, using it for support. Position your legs a little wider than shoulder width apart and begin to shift your weight from left to right. As you shift from side to side, one leg will be bent while the other is straight. Complete 10 to 15 reps on each leg.

Staggered Stance Power Knees

Staggered Stance Power Knees
Step to one side of your chair and hold on for balance. Step back with your right leg, then lift your knee up to waist level. Bring your leg back down and repeat. Complete 10 high-knee movements on your right side. Then, step to the other side of the chair and repeat the movement for 10 reps on your left leg.

Lateral Bends

Lateral Bends
Stand behind your chair with your feet together. Place your right hand on the back of the chair to steady yourself. Then reach up with your left arm as high as you can, slowly bending to the right. Hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds. Then switch sides. Complete the movement a few times on each side.

Single-Leg Lateral Hip Flexion

Single-Leg Lateral Hip Flexion
Position your legs nice and wide as you stand behind your chair. Hold onto the chair and shift your weight onto your right leg. Lift your left leg up and hold for 5 seconds. Then repeat on the other leg. Complete the movement 2 to 3 times.

Toe Stands

Toe Stands
Stand behind your chair with your feet together. Lift up onto your toes as high as you can and hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat this movement 2 to 3 times.

Now, wrap up with a cool down.

You’re almost done! The only thing left to do is cool down. Which means it’s time to relax, stretch, catch your breath, and lower your heart rate. Follow along as Mac and Adam show you how to successfully finish your workout.

Breathing with Shoulder Raise

Breathing with Shoulder Raise
Sit in your chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Interlock your fingers and reach your arms up toward the ceiling while taking a deep breath in. Then lower your arms back down while breathing out. Repeat the movement 5 times.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Seated Hamstring Stretch
Bring your feet together and point your toes toward the ceiling. Slide your hands down your legs while keeping your chin up and looking forward. Hold for 10 seconds, then slide your hands back up your legs to your starting position. Repeat the movement 3 to 4 times.

Hand over Hand Focused Breathing

Hand over Hand Focused Breathing
Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Take a deep breath in and slowly exhale. Repeat the breathing exercise 5 to 10 times.

Wrist Stretch

Wrist Stretch
Bring your hands in a prayer position then slowly bend them from left to right. Complete the movement 10 to 15 times.

Cross Body Shoulder Stretch

Cross Body Shoulder Stretch
Place your left hand on your right shoulder. Then use your right hand to slowly pull your elbow towards your body. Switch sides and repeat the movement 10 to 20 times on each arm.

Good Morning Stretch

Good Morning Stretch
Stretch your arms back like you’re waking up in the morning. Bring your arms back down and shake them out. Repeat the movement 3 to 5 times.

Reach your senior fitness and rehab goals — one step (and stretch) at a time.

Every step you take matters. Whether you’re physically taking a walk or mentally making a choice to stay active. It’s all proof that you’re moving forward. So if you start to notice that you’re slowing down, don’t let it hold you back. Turn to Ageility to help reach your senior fitness goals, and start turning things around.

Get the personalized senior fitness training and rehab support you need to keep advancing. Find an Ageility clinic near you to learn more.

Senior living communities: This is your chance to bring specialized rehab services and fitness classes to your community. Discover the benefits of Ageility partnerships now.

Senior Fitness 101: Tips for Staying Active as an Older Adult

It’s no secret that consistent exercise plays a huge role in helping seniors live healthier, longer and more independent lives. The benefits are life-changing, but finding the motivation to get moving each day doesn’t get any easier as we get older.

One of the biggest obstacles to getting started with a senior fitness routine is the term “exercise” itself. For some, the word exercise is associated with pain and discomfort. Once you start thinking of exercise as encompassing all forms of “movement,” though, the whole idea of staying active changes—and becomes way more fun. What once may have seemed like something you just did in gym class or for sports practice when you were young can now be done by anyone, of any age or skill level.

Whether it’s pickleball, gardening, or just taking your pup out for a walk around the neighborhood, there are lots of easy and effective ways to incorporate movement into your active senior lifestyle. Not sure where to start in your senior fitness journey?

Here are five tips to help you get motivated to make movement a habit this year and beyond.

1. Make Senior Fitness a Priority

Many of us lead busy lives, and it’s easy to put physical activity at the bottom of the “to do” list. Remember, though, being active is one of the most important things you can do each day to maintain and improve your health. Make it a point to include physical activities throughout your day. Try being active first thing in the morning before you get busy. Think of your time to exercise as a special appointment and mark it on your calendar.

2. Make It Easy to Stay Active

If it’s difficult, costs too much, or is too inconvenient, you probably won’t be active. When it comes to senior fitness, as with any age, you are more likely to exercise if it’s easy to do. Put your two-pound weights next to your easy chair so you can do some lifting while you watch TV or walk up and down the soccer field during your grandchild’s game. When you go out to get the mail, go for a walk around the block. Or consider joining a gym or senior fitness center that’s close to home. You can be active all at once or break it up into smaller amounts throughout the day—just keep moving.

Whatever sort of senior fitness regimen you choose, be sure it incorporates these four types of exercise recommended for older adults:

Senior Fitness Exercises – Four Key Types of Exercise for Older Adults
Endurance Try to build up to at least 30 minutes of activity that leaves you breathing hard. You can do it in 10-minute increments, you can do it 3-5 times a week. Start low and slow and increase duration and energy level as you get more fit.
Strength Everything you do requires muscles: getting up from a chair, lifting a grandchild, carrying groceries are all things you’d like to be able to do without needing assistance. Keeping your muscles in shape keeps you independent.
Balance Falls are the leading cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence, and injury deaths among seniors. Incorporating balance exercises into your senior fitness routine is crucial for safety. Practicing standing on one foot and walking heel to toe can help you improve your balance.
Flexibility Stretching is something you can do anytime and anywhere. Stretch your arms, legs, neck, and back. You’ll find it easier to tie your shoes, look over your shoulder when backing out of the driveway, and reach for things whether they’re on a high shelf or the ground.

3. Make Senior Exercise Safe

Moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, is safe for almost all older adults. Even so, avoiding injury is an important thing to keep in mind, especially if you’re just starting a new activity or you haven’t been active for a long time. Talk to your doctor if you have an ongoing health condition or certain other health problems or if you haven’t seen your doctor for a while.

Ask how physical activity can help you, whether you should avoid certain activities, and how to modify exercises to fit your situation. You may feel some minor discomfort or muscle soreness when you start to exercise. This should go away as you get used to the activities; however, if you feel sick to your stomach or have strong pain, you’ve done too much. Go easier and then gradually build up. Consider working with a senior physical trainer like an Ageility Fitness specialist to help guide you in your progression.

4. Make It Social

Maintaining an active senior lifestyle is so much easier when you’re not doing it alone. Enlist a friend or family member. Many people agree that having an “exercise buddy” keeps them going. Take a yoga class with a neighbor. If you don’t already have an exercise partner, find one by joining a walking club at your local mall or take a walk during lunch with a co-worker.

5. Make It Interesting and Fun

To help you feel motivated and excited to maintain a senior fitness routine, do things you enjoy and pick up the pace a bit. If you love the outdoors, try biking, fishing, jogging or hiking. Listen to music or a book on CD while walking, gardening or raking. Most people tend to focus on one activity or type of exercise and think they’re doing enough. The goal is to be creative and choose exercises from each of the four categories—endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Mixing it up will help you reap the benefits of each type of exercise, as well as reduce boredom and risk of injury.

The Ageility Difference — Older adult fitness catered to you

Whether you’re just getting started toward a more active lifestyle or have been active your whole life, sometimes taking the next step can be daunting, especially when you’re going it alone. Ageility rehab and senior fitness specialists are here to help. Whether your goal is competing in the National Senior Games or playing catch with grandkids, Ageility’s older adult fitness training plans are tailored to help you reach your highest possible level of fitness, and have fun doing it. Work with your Ageility Team to create a movement practice you can do safely and enjoy. Find an Ageility clinic near you to learn more.

Not Your Typical “Athlete”

How one senior athlete is redefining the term, one step at a time

Hugh “Mac” McCaffrey jokes that it takes a very generous definition of “athlete” to consider him one. The 78-year-old resident of The Forum at Deer Creek doesn’t play sports, isn’t on any teams and would much rather go for a walk than run. Yet, this May, he’ll be Ageility’s sponsored athlete at the National Senior Games, competing in two powerwalking events—the 1,500-meter sprint and 5K distance race. That’s because Mac has the most important thing one needs to be an athlete at any age: a passion for an active lifestyle.

“I don’t consider myself to be a sterling example of anything,” he says. “I enjoy what I do.”

The making of a senior athlete – the importance of passion over talent

The term “athlete” may at first bring to mind sports legends like Michael Jordan, Billie Jean King or Muhammad Ali. Speed, endurance, strength…all are pillars of what we consider the greatest athletes of all time. For many of us, though, it can feel like being an athlete is something unattainable and for the few lucky enough to have the talent and training. Long before his journey to becoming a senior athlete, Mac felt the same way looking up to the “athletes” in his high school. “I see these guys and I was never quite ever going to be on the same level as they were,” he says. “These guys were a step above, a step faster, reaction time was a millisecond faster.”

Over time, though, Mac realized that while these athletes had talent, they had the “same fears and hang ups we all have.” What was most important to being a senior athlete, or an athlete at any age, he learned, wasn’t whether you bested the competition; it was about finding an activity you enjoy and taking that first step. For Mac, it’s going for long walks several times a day, but it could be anything that gets you up and moving.

“I’m not really in any kind of shape to be doing anything,” he says. “I don’t enjoy running, but I do enjoy walking. I was encouraged to compete in the Senior Games, and I thought, why not? It sounds fun.”

Exercising for its own sake: senior fitness and wellness

Another key aspect of being an athlete at any age, but especially a senior athlete, is regular exercise. Mac says that looks a lot different now than when he was young. Back then, he says you got exercise by signing up to play a sport and going to practice, not by going on walks. The goal of exercise, he says, was to compete. It wasn’t until several decades later that his son and granddaughters taught him that exercise—and in turn being an athlete—didn’t require a coach. Anyone could do it.

“When I was a kid, you played outside and that was your activity,” he says. “Once you stopped doing competitive sports, you stopped exercising. But now all six of my grandchildren do some sort of physical activity. My oldest granddaughter has been working out since she was seven. Exercise now…it’s about keeping moving.”

Making “athlete” accessible for anyone

Mac is a competitive guy, but he says he’s not feeling the pressure to win gold against the top senior athletes from across the country. What’s most important, he says, is to have fun, make his community proud and show that the “athlete” umbrella is a lot bigger than you might think. Whether you prefer walking, water aerobics, pickleball or all the above, it’s dedication and a passion for movement that matters most. Who knows? Maybe next year, you’ll be a senior athlete competing at the Senior Games.

“If anybody has reservations about doing the senior games, I would say go for it,” says Mac. “What do you have to lose? If I do well, super. If I do badly, will I be embarrassed? Maybe a little bit. But at the end of the day, I don’t owe anybody any money and I have had an enjoyable experience.”

How to keep up with Mac and reach your senior fitness goals

The National Senior Games may still be several months off, but you can follow Mac’s journey and training routine every step of the way. To learn more about how Ageility Fitness can help you become an athlete at any age like Mac, visit ageility.com/fitness or find an Ageility location near you

Is There a Difference Between Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation?

Whether it’s from a slip in the kitchen or a bad swing on the golf course, injuries can happen anytime, anywhere. They occur to people of all ages, but seniors are especially at risk.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, you’ve probably asked yourself if physical therapy or rehabilitation is the best route to recovery, and if there are differences between the two. Take a closer look at what the two terms encompass, though, and you discover that they’re far more intertwined than you may think.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation – the Holistic Rehab Umbrella

The main difference between physical therapy and rehabilitation is that physical therapy (PT) is a form of rehabilitation, but not all rehabilitation is PT. The essence of rehab is that it’s holistic and requires an interdisciplinary approach. Agency accreditation requires a rehab provider to have multiple disciplines that work together to effectively support the best outcome for the participant. Studies show that one of the most effective ways to prevent injury in older adults is through person-centered rehab that can help improve balance, muscle strength and endurance.

What is holistic rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation can often include a combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to address the needs of the person more holistically. Often more than one form of rehab may be called for when a person has multiple issues or treatment goals, whether they be improving memory, being able to speak more clearly or manage pain. That’s why a holistic rehab provider like Ageility that can tailor treatment plans to your personal goals is key to preventing injury, restoring function and improving quality of life.

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy (PT) involves helping people improve their movement, functional ability and overall wellbeing through tailored exercises and treatments. It’s no secret that aches and pains are a part of life as we get older. Medical conditions and injuries can also make it difficult to sustain the quality of life you desire. When considering options for rehabilitation, physical therapy can be best for people who have an impairment or illness that results in pain and/or limited mobility.

PT treatment comes from professionally licensed physical therapists who are trained to help you improve mobility and balance and reduce or eliminate pain. They are also key to preventing injury and reducing fall risk. Physical therapy for seniors can include a range of programs. At Ageility, where therapists are specialized in treating older adults, rehabilitation and physical therapy services include:

  • Fall prevention and balance
  • Chronic and acute pain management and prevention
  • Arthritic pain management
  • Strength and flexibility
  • Postsurgical rehabilitation
  • Sports medicine

Rehabilitation: Physical Therapy and Beyond

Rehab encompasses all therapies and treatments that help people return to a previous level of function, whether after surgery or a stroke, or when adapting to live with conditions like Parkinson’s. Everyone’s situation is different, so rehab looks specifically at each person’s needs to develop person-centered therapy that addresses their unique circumstances.

Typically, receiving more than one type of rehab treatment would require going to several different therapy providers. Ageility makes it easy by providing the full spectrum of rehab services—physical, occupational and speech—in one location. That means less time figuring out how to get to rehab, and more time actually doing it.

The Ageility Difference: Holistic, Effective Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy Services Near You

Whether you need physical therapy to get back to your golf game or other rehabilitation services that can help you regain your independence after a surgery or stroke, being able to participate in person centered rehabilitation treatment is key to helping you stay fit and on your feet. At Ageility, we know that rehab needs are different for older adults than younger adults. The numbers speak for themselves. We’ve seen that older adults living in communities with an Ageility clinic have a 36% reduced risk of falls and are able to stay in their communities on average 31% longer.

Rehab plays a key role in helping older adults avoid injury, restore function and improve their quality of life. Reaching those goals requires holistic treatment from an experienced provider. With Ageility’s full spectrum of rehabilitation services for older adults all in one location, they’re never far off no matter what stage of health they’re starting from.

To learn more about Ageility’s holistic rehab services for older adults, contact [email protected] for more info or search for an Ageility location near you.

Blended Balance Signature Fitness

A balance program for older adults

Maintaining a sense of balance while standing and walking becomes harder as we age and can raise the risk of falling. Degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s can compromise balance, too. Ageility’s Blended Balance Signature Fitness Program is designed to help older individuals regain their sense of balance and build back strength to live safer, healthier lives.

What is Blended Balance?

Our Blended Balance Signature Fitness Program is part of an integrated approach to fall intervention and prevention. It’s a 12-week, multimodal program that combines balance assessments with tai chi, yoga, balance training exercises and resistance training. Blended Balance is available to anyone wanting to improve their balance; Ageility therapists may also recommend Blended Balance following a course of therapy.

How does Blended Balance work?

The program closely follows balance recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine. Blended Balance combines multicomponent programming to include balance, strength, power, flexibility and functional training for older adults. Each 30-minute session includes:

  • Tai chi warmu
  • Balance drills
  • Strength and/or power training
  • Yoga warm-down

A progressive, customized approach to balance for older adults

Blended Balance sessions progress from using support and eyesight as needed to using little to no support or eyesight to achieve and maintain balance. Balance assessments are performed at week 1 to establish a baseline and week 12 to evaluate progress.

Depending on need, Blended Balance may be repeated. Ageility may also integrate fall prevention rehab services through our OTAGO Fall Risk Reduction Program. Ageility trainers can advise participants on best next steps given their unique situation.

The results: Fewer falls, greater confidence

Building better balance can greatly reduce fear of falling, leading not only to fewer accidents and hospitalizations but better quality of life. Blended Balance is part of Ageility’s comprehensive offering for fall prevention and balance enhancement.

Start building greater confidence today

Not sure if Blended Balance is the right choice? Contact us to learn more. Or find an Ageility Clinic near you. A better life balance is within reach.

Top 7 Functional Exercises for Older Adults Open What is Functional Exercise?

What is Functional Exercise?

It’s a type of fitness training designed to train and develop your muscles to do things you do every day more easily and safely, whether it’s bending down to garden or playing basketball with your grandkids. Functional fitness exercises mirror everyday movements to train your muscles to work together for their daily tasks, whether for home, work or play.

For example, a squat is a functional exercise because it works the muscles you use to crouch down to pull a weed in that garden. A standing rowing movement trains the muscles you use to pull open a stubborn dresser drawer. A hip rotation helps you swivel to steal the basketball from your surprised grandchild.

Functional exercises are particularly beneficial for older adults because they mimic common activities, train several muscle groups simultaneously and in general require little specialized equipment. You can do many of them in your own home.

The Functional Exercise Movement

Although functional exercise training has been around a long time, it began growing in popularity about 10 years ago, according to Kathryn Cunningham, Ageility fitness programming and training specialist. “Functional exercise has become more established in the fitness industry,” said Kathryn. “It helps improve both stability and mobility. Done at a higher level, it can help athletes improve how they play sports, but we fitness trainers for older adults also find it useful for increasing one’s capacity to perform activities of daily living, or ADLs.”

That capacity can be thought of as functional fitness, said Andrew Walker, director of health and wellness for the National Senior Games Association.

“The physical capacity to perform ADLs in a safe and independent manner without undue fatigue is one way to define functional fitness,” said Andrew, who works with elite senior athletes as well as other older adults. “It’s about efficiency. Functional fitness involves training with specificity—specific movements and specific patterns to enable moving more efficiently.”

But functional exercises aren’t just for elite athletes, Andrew said. “For seniors who are not competing athletically, functional fitness is significant, since it is directly related to one’s ability to perform activities of daily living.”

Try for yourself: A functional exercise workout

With that in mind, here’s a complete workout featuring seven functional exercises to help you increase your own capacity to move through your day more easily and safely—and with greater enjoyment. Watch our video below as Ageility personal fitness trainer Jessica Lime takes you through the workout step-by-step.


Functional Exercise Actions/Activities It Supports (Examples)
Squat Picking up objects dropped on the floor; lifting objects
Lunge Walking; climbing stairs; maintaining balance
Push-up (from floor, incline and wall) Pushing; breaking a fall; tasks requiring upper body strength
Standing row Pulling; lifting; carrying; opening doors and drawers
Hinge Walking or running uphill; unloading the dishwasher; raking or shoveling; lifting a small child
Rotation (using exercise band) Walking; running; crouching; stepping into a bathtub; putting on pants
Walk Walking; general mobility; getting from door to car; moving about one’s home

So get moving—gently—and good luck!

Find functional fitness training for yourself or your community

At Ageility, your potential is our passion, a reason we are a proud association partner of the National Senior Games Association. Interested in a functional exercise program for yourself or your senior living community? Find an Ageility clinic or learn more about the benefits of Ageility partnerships.

Five Ways Exercise Can Reduce Loneliness and Improve Health in Older Adults

If loneliness were a virus, we’d call it a pandemic. According to the AARP, more than half of adults 50 and over have reported experiencing social isolation due to COVID-19. And that’s a problem: As the AARP also points out, decades of research have taught us that prolonged social isolation and loneliness are more damaging to your health than obesity and as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

What can you do? How about a both/and: moving your muscles for your body while making social connections for your mind and spirit. In other words, try exercise but with a twist. Do it in the company of others.

Besides being good for your health, exercising with a buddy or group can be a big part of the cure for loneliness. So call a friend, ask them to join your “team,” and make your exercise routine your social routine, too.

Here are five tips to get started exercising to combat loneliness:

  1. Walk and talk with your friend.
    Get all the neighborhood dirt while cleaning out your arteries. Walking and talking is actually a great barometer to track your fitness— doctors call it the “the talk test.” If you find yourself getting winded, slow down your pace and gradually increase it day by day.
  2. Join a group exercise class.
    Studies have shown that group exercise class can reduce the symptoms of depression by 30% or more in exercising older adults. (If you hate exercise but enjoy being with friends, this might be the cure for you.)
  3. Join a sport club or league.
    Tennis or golf, volleyball or pickleball—choose something new or a past pastime. Rediscover your competitive spirit or just enjoy the camaraderie of a team. Leagues have schedules you commit to, making it more likely you’ll stick with it, especially if you don’t like to let others down.
  4. Work out with a personal trainer.
    A personal trainer will motivate you while also providing the bonus of companionship. Ageility offers fitness training from certified instructors who focus on where you’re at right now as well as your personal goals. Find out if there’s an Ageility clinic near you.
  5. Revisit an old exercise “flame.”
    Haven’t played tennis or golf (or something else) in 20 years but want to start up again? Pick up that racquet or nine-iron and remember what you loved about the sport, and don’t worry if you’re rusty. Ask a friend you used to play with or a newer acquaintance to join you once a week for a set date.
  6. Try a partner workout.
    Simple exercises can become a lot more fun with a friend. Watch our Ageility trainers demonstrate a simple partner workout – you simply can’t do it alone.

You get the picture. This pandemic time is a time to lean on others to get you moving again. The great thing is, soon you won’t be leaning but standing up straight. Exercise can be much easier when you’re not the only one doing it. Plus, if you invite a friend to join you, chances are they’re in the same boat and will be grateful you asked.

Tip: Especially if you’ve been sedentary, consult your doctor or a physical therapist before starting an exercise regimen. Ageility therapists and fitness trainers are specially qualified to work with older adults and help them reach their goals.

Find an Ageility Clinic

This Blockbuster “Drug” Defies Aging

Senior Exercise Is Medicine for Your Body—and Soul

It’s hard to admit sometimes, but as we age, so do our bodies. Loss of muscle tone, bone density and tissue elasticity along with weight gain can make what experts call your “biological age” feel older than your chronological age—when what you really want is to feel younger than your years. No wonder the internet is awash in miracle cures for aging, from unregulated natural supplements to expensive anti-wrinkle creams.

But what if there were a drug all the experts agreed on, one proven to help you lose weight, build strength and agility, ease gastro symptoms, improve your sleep, prevent disease, reduce stress, lift your mood—even enhance your sexual health? You’d probably want a daily dose of this drug, wouldn’t you? Well, good news. Not only are you eligible for this prescription, it’s available to you right now! You know it by its generic name: exercise.

Moving is medicine for seniors – and everyone!

Physical activity of just about any kind can add not only years to your life, but life to your years. In fact, so numerous are its benefits that if exercise were a pill, it would be flying off the pharmacy shelves. Especially for older adults, it’s nothing short of a miracle cure. Senior exercise is known to provide a host of health benefits, including maintaining a healthy weight, reducing risk of heart disease and diabetes complications, promoting bone, joint and muscle health, preventing constipation, sharpening memory and thinking skills and promoting sexual health.

All well and good, but what if you’ve never had much success sticking to an exercise routine? Here’s a tip: Try thinking of senior exercises as a medicine to take versus something one has to do. It can help motivate you to get that daily dose—and shake off any guilty feelings when you don’t. Unlike some prescriptions, missing a dose of this drug is not a big deal. The point is to keep reaching for it.

There are some important similarities between senior exercise and medication when it comes to improving your health. For example, either works best when individualized. As with a drug, each exercise “prescription’ should vary depending on type, duration, intensity, and frequency. Second, each person benefits from knowing which senior exercise type and routine may work best for them; consulting a trainer or taking a class can provide this kind of guidance. This is why the certified fitness experts at Ageility, for example, insist on an upfront assessment to evaluate an individual’s current health profile and abilities as well as their goals—what their own personal “cure” would look like.

Medicine for body and mind

In addition to what it does for physical health, senior exercise offers multiple benefits that help overall cognitive function. When your mind is stressed, it sends a message to many different nerve connections that cause your body to feel depleted. Conversely, healing your body—say, through exercise—will help heal your mind as well. Exercise helps your body produce endorphins that decrease depression, lower levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, and boost self-esteem. Release of endorphins also promotes weight loss and improves sleep. Exercise also increases your body’s production of antibodies and T-cells that fight infection, improving your immune system and protecting you against illness. This has a bonus effect, as feeling resilient against disease can also help improve your mental wellbeing.

Ready to take your medicine? To ease into exercise, here are three gentler types you can do almost anytime, anywhere:

Cardiovascular and aerobic exercise for seniors

Walking is aerobic exercise with cardiovascular benefits—and one of the easiest exercises to perform. It doesn’t require a gym or any equipment; just put on comfortable footwear and go! It’s a great way to relieve stress, whether you are power walking or strolling at a steady pace and clearing your mind. The American College of Sports Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “prescribe” at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both. Brisk walking qualifies as moderate intensity activity, but any pace can be beneficial.

Tai chi for seniors

If you’ve ever passed a crowd of people standing in rows out on a lawn, all moving gently through a series of poses, you’ve seen tai chi. A traditional Chinese practice, tai chi is an exercise routine anyone can do: The movements are easy, slow, and repetitive, focusing on the form of each movement and breathing. Tai chi is known to benefit people who suffer from anxiety, stress and depression. It also regulates immune functions by increasing endorphin levels. For older adults wishing to undo years of work-related stress, tai chi can alleviate any energy blockages within the body, promoting a sense of inner peace and mindfulness.

Pilates for seniors

Pilates is a method of putting low impact and stress on the body to help improve postural alignment, core strength, and balance by relaxing overactive muscles and activate underactive ones. It’s a great way to release anxiety and stress to manage cortisol levels. Pilates helps promote strength, flexibility, posture, and weight loss. Similar to yoga, focusing on your breathing in Pilates helps improve the flow of oxygen to all of your body’s cells and removes wastes and toxins being trapped by insufficient blood supply.

As a bonus, Pilates also helps you manage stress by decreasing cortisol levels and increasing levels of endorphins and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and many other physiological processes, improving your mood naturally.

Ready, set …

Now that you know about this wonder drug, why not give exercise a try? Or, if you already exercise, try adding variety to your routine with something new. Research shows that mixing things up can help you stay with your exercise prescription longer. It’s good medicine. Take it—for life.

Ageility offers highly personalized fitness training by certified fitness professionals. Find out if there’s an Ageility clinic near you.

Let’s Play Pickle Ball!

Let’s play ball! Pickle ball, that is. Pickle ball is the fastest growing sport in America. With minimal learning time and coaching needed, pickle ball can be picked up in no time. You can go from being inexperienced to playing a competitive game with your friends in a matter of minutes. Pickle ball is a combination of tennis, badminton and ping pong. With a court 20 ft by 44 ft court (a scaled down version of a tennis court) and with a low net, pickle ball is easier on the joints and body. There are two side lines, two baselines and two non-volley lines which create two non-volley zones known as the kitchen. The center line divides the service courts, and every point begins with an underhand serve behind the base line across the court into the opposite opponent’s service court and not in the kitchen. Once the ball is serviced the double bounce rule goes in to effect-this means the ball must bounce once on each side before either team can volley the ball in the air. Then each team may begin to volley the ball back and forth with one bounce or no bounce

Benefits of Pickle Ball

Pickle ball is less taxing than tennis; however, it is still enough of an aerobic workout that it improves cardiovascular health and fitness when played three times a week for one hour. This can help improve blood pressure and cardiovascular endurance. Pickle ball can help prevent and manage diabetes by improving the production of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

Pickle ball is a great way to burn calories and get the body moving without feeling like you are spending hours on a treadmill. Instead, you are playing a fun, competitive game with friends! Pickle ball is an excellent way to improve your strength, balance, and agility with the variety of foot work, weight shifting, and potential single leg stance required to maneuver around the court. The fast pace of the game (like ping-pong) is a great way to improve hand eye coordination, which keeps the mind sharp. Overhead serves are not allowed in pickle ball, which is good for individuals with shoulder complications.

Apart from the physical aspect, pickle ball can improve mood and mental health by warding off depression. Increasing heart rate with moderate exercise can release feel-good endorphins to help ease our minds. Pickle ball is played on a small court increasing the social interaction with friends, family, and teammates!

Check with an Ageility physical therapist or personal trainer near you to do an overall assessment to make sure you have proper form before starting Pickle ball. Look up the nearest pickle ball signup near you in your community! Get out there, get healthy and get living!

Find an Ageility clinic near you.