Weight loss for seniors can be risky for many obese older adults. As you age, you lose muscle mass – called sarcopenia. Recent scientific research shows obese seniors on a weight loss diet who do not perform resistance exercises often lose muscle mass. Consequently, adverse health outcomes of sarcopenia include:
- Higher rate of mortality (death)
- Functional decline
- More frequent falls
- Higher incidence of hospitalizations
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However, resistance training during dieting preserves your muscles, so you avoid these adverse health outcomes. If you think you might be obese, you can check your BMI and get Medicare obesity counseling.
To maintain muscle strength, you need to get regular physical activity.
Physical Activities for Seniors
During COVID-19 Pandemic, seniors can safely get physical activity at home. Otherwise, seniors who receive the Coronavirus vaccines (1st and 2nd shots) can safely workout at a fitness center. Find out about Senior Healthcare Direct’s new fitness program for seniors.
New Fitness Program for Seniors
If you have COVID-19 immunity, we recommend you join the new fitness program for seniors called Active&Fit Direct. Membership benefits include access to over 11,000 fitness centers nationwide and online classes with workout videos. Learn more about the Active&Fit Direct program.
Bodyweight Strength Training
You can use your body weight for strength training. If you exercise at home, make sure you perform these muscle resistance activities correctly to avoid injury. Before you start strength training, review the Training Prep Guidelines.
Training Prep Guidelines
Get your gear and your environment ready for physical activity, so you can safely perform your training.
- Wear shoes with a rubber outsole so the shoe bottoms can grip the floor.
- Secure your shoes – tighten shoelaces and tie them.
- Ensure the training space is clean, dry, and adequately illuminated.
It’s best not to train alone. If possible, exercise when your spouse or other family member is present. Then if something goes wrong, they can help. Otherwise, put your mobile phone in your pocket so you can call for help if you need it.
Pushups for Seniors
Pushups help strengthen muscles in your chest and arms. The following pushups for seniors provide you with three modified versions. The order of difficulty is from least difficult to most difficult.
- Standing Wall Pushups: put the palms of your hands on a wall and take a step back. Next, you bend your arms and bring your head close to the wall. Then you push against the wall and straighten your arms.
- Countertop Pushups: you do the same thing as standing wall pushups, except you put your hands on the edge of a countertop.
- Chair Pushups: place your hands on the edge of a chair seat and perform the same pushup movement.
Another bodyweight strength training activity for seniors is seated squats.
Seated Squats for Seniors
A seated squat is a functional movement that trains the muscles you need to sit up from a seated position. This strength training activity works the muscles in your legs, glutes, and abs. Modified versions also work your arms and back muscles.
The following three modifications of seated squats will progress from least difficult to most difficult. With all versions, you begin in the seated position.
- Pole-Assisted seated squat: while holding on to a pole or cane, pull yourself out of the seat and into a standing position.
- Armchair seated squat: with your hands on the arms of a chair, push yourself up and stand.
- No Assist seated squat: with your arms extended out in front, stand up out of your chair.
Physical Activity and Weight Loss for Seniors
Strength training helps seniors maintain muscle mass while on a weight loss diet. Using your body weight for resistance training allows you to strengthen your muscles at home. By following the Training Prep Guidelines, you can workout safely and lose weight.