Weightbearing exercises for seniors - The benefits

exercises for seniors

January 16, 2024

Weight-Bearing Exercise: A Key Component of Senior Fitness

As we age, our bodies require different types of exercise to maintain optimal health. While cardio, strength training, and stretching are commonly recognised as important exercises for seniors, one type of exercise is often neglected and overlooked in older adults: weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercise can be a highly effective addition to any exercise program, especially for older adults looking to improve their bone health and balance.

What are Weight-Bearing Exercises?

Weight-bearing exercises are activities that load your bones. They can be included in your normal exercise routine or can be a great additional to you daily routine for your physical health. Several ways you can include this is to incorporate exercises such as: knee push-ups, planks, or wall sits. Alternatively, you can employ dumbbells to perform exercises like biceps curls or lunges. Weight-bearing exercises for seniors could also be aerobic activities, such as walking, running, or dancing. While many exercises are weight-bearing, some are not, such as swimming and cycling. However, it is essential to include bone-building, weight-bearing exercises in your routine.

The Benefits of Weight-Bearing Exercise

Weight-bearing exercise has an array of benefits due to its ability to strengthen your bones, muscles, and balance. Lower-body weight-bearing exercises are typically more popular because the hips and lower back are common sites for fractures related to osteoporosis. However, your upper back and wrists are also at risk, so weight-bearing exercises for those areas are crucial.

Weight-bearing exercises strengthen all the large muscles in your body, as well as the small ones, such as your wrists and ankles. They also provide continuous feedback to your body about its position in space, known as proprioception, which reduces the risk of falling and improves your balance. All which are essential for lowering your falls risk. Weight-bearing exercise are a great way to improve you general day to day functioning because most activities of daily living are weight-bearing. Strong muscles and good posture make everyday activities like getting out of a chair or walking while carrying shopping easier and safer. Additionally, weight-bearing exercises such as walking, running, and dancing, improve cardiovascular health, burn calories, and reduce the risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Weight-Bearing Exercises and Osteoporosis

When you perform weight-bearing exercises, the impact stimulates bone growth. These bone-strengthening effects are especially important for older adults because more than half of those over 50 are at risk of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis or low bone density. In early to mid-adult hood, you tend to maintain good bone density but as you age the bodies ability to rebuild and repair bones reduces and the rate of bone break down is faster, this leads to low bone density (osteopenia) and osteoporosis. However, by staying active and completing weight bearing activities and exercises you can help prevent or at least delay some of these declines.

If you do not know where to start or need a little guidance and confidence to get you going on your exercise journey, book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists either in our clinic or at your home. Our physiotherapists can assess your needs and help you complete exercises to help improve your physical health. You can also join our new stable and able exercises for seniors class which is designed specifically for older adults.

No matter whether your condition was caused by a sport, work accident or otherwise, we welcome the chance to serve you.

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