Resistance bands are used in a multitude of different ways, but for seniors, they can be a wonderful tool for exercising. Due to their flexibility and adaptability, they make it an easy tool for fitness. What are the 10 best exercises for seniors who want to use resistance bands?
The 10 best resistance band exercises for seniors include the seated row, lat pulldown, miniband squat, band side step, chest punch, clamshell, bicep curls, lateral raise, band pull apart, and squats.
Resistance bands are small, they are lightweight, and they are very easy to store. Due to their physical makeup, it may not seem like they would be very effective when it comes to exercising, but these little bands are incredible resources, and especially so for seniors. Continue reading to see what the benefits of using a resistance band are for seniors and all the different exercises that can be implemented with such a simple piece of equipment.
Why Resistance Band Exercises Are Great for Seniors
Resistance bands are quickly thought of as a tool for the needs of those going through any type of physical rehabilitation or physical therapy. They are incredible tools for helping to heal the body, but beyond that, they are great for exercising. It may sound impossible, but resistance bands are some of the best exercise tools for seniors due to a few different reasons, which are highlighted below.
Resistance Bands can Accommodate
For so many pieces of exercise equipment, there is only one way that you can use them and there is no option to modify that exact piece to fit your needs. For many seniors, it can be difficult to perform a certain exercise on the ground or in a standing position with a resistance band. However, due to the nature of these bands, many exercises can be modified to work just as effectively in sitting or standing positions, making them extremely accommodating.
Resistance Bands Train the Body and the Mind
Resistance bands are made of a material that mimics that of a very stretching rubber band. Therefore, when they are pulled tight, they offer a huge amount of resistance. Even more, when pulled tight, one must pay attention as there will never be the same amount of tension in every rep. This then causes the brain to engage due to the need to stabilize your body and the band to keep good form.
Resistance Bands are Highly Effective
For many seniors, there is no need to get into a gym where the sole focus is heavy weightlifting or other extreme exercises. They want something that is going to keep them healthy, build strength in a more subdued way, and offer them an exercise routine that is not too vigorous. Resistance bands are able to build muscle, improve balance, and strengthen your core all through the use of only a few colorful bands.
10 Best Resistance Band Exercises For Seniors
Now that you know why resistance band exercises are so great for seniors, you are likely wondering where to start when it comes to the actual use of these tools. They may look a bit intimidating at first due to their unstructured appearance, but with a little practice and familiarity, you will find yourself picking these up at a moment’s notice to get in your workout no matter where you are. Below are the 10 best resistance band exercises for seniors.
1. Seated Row
This is one of the most common workouts for resistance bands, but for good reason – it is very effective. To complete the seated row, sit on the floor and extend your legs out in front of you and right next to one another. You will then place the band on the soles of your feet and grab the band from both sides with each hand. Sit up straight and bend your arms at the elbows. Pull the band directly into your core as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
After you have brought the band as far back as your shoulder blades will allow, you will then return back to your starting position and repeat. This can also be done sitting in a chair where you would step on the band and create the same motions with your elbows and shoulder blades with your upper body bent slightly over your knees.
2. Lat Pulldown
Take your resistance band in both hands and stand in a position where your arms are straight overhead and shoulder-width apart. Your palms will face forward as you hold the band and create tension between your hands. Then, lower your right arm and maintain tension until you have met your right hand with your shoulder. Slowly go back to the starting position and repeat the same action with your left arm as well.
3. Miniband Squat
This exercise requires either a miniband or a tied resistance band. You will take that band and wrap it around your legs, right above your knees. After it is positioned, take your hips and push them back as if you were going to sit down and then lower into a squat as far as you can go. Keeping the band tight, pause, and then return back to the starting position and repeat as many times as you can.
4. Band Side Step
If you are a senior who loves dancing, this might be an exercise that you find a little more exciting. To complete a band sidestep, you will wrap the band above your knees and bend them slightly. Then, step to the side and move your other foot in that same direction. You will then continue in the same direction for about 15 to 20 steps and then reverse your steps so the opposite side of your body can get the same workout.
5. Chest Punch
This exercise is not as violent as it may sound, but it is very effective. For a chest punch, hold one end of the resistance band in each hand and take it over your head so the middle of the band is on your upper back. Then, place one foot in front of the other and slowly bring both arms in front of you to mimic a punching pose. After your arms have fully extended, bring your arms back to the starting position and repeat.
Before lying down, loop a resistance band around your legs, right above the knees. You will then move to the ground and lie on your side with your knees bent. Then, lift the knee that is on top and keep your hips as unmoved as possible. Slowly lower the leg back down and repeat. You will then turn over and switch to the opposite side with the previous knee that was on the bottom, now being on top. Repeat the same action and continue for eight reps.
7. Bicep Curls
To take the attention away from your legs, try biceps curls. You will stand directly on the band with both ends pulled taut in each arm as your hands remain down at your sides. Then, bend only your elbows and curl your arms to your shoulders. You will wait a few seconds and slowly bring your hands back down to your side. This exercise is to imitate the type of curl that would happen with weights, but offers a much easier implementation for seniors.
8. Lateral Raise
Take your band and stand right in the middle of it. You will then take both sides and grip them in both hands. Once you have a good grip, you will take both arms at the same time and extend them out, rather than upwards (like with a curl) and bring them up to your shoulders. Keep a bit of a bend in your elbows, but bring them up slowly as far as you can. Once you have reached that point, slowly bring them back down and repeat.
9. Band Pull-Apart
Standing up straight, you will take your feet and place them shoulder-width apart as you have both sides of the resistance band in both hands. Make sure the band is placed in a way that it offers some resistance, but not so much that is immovable. Once you have the band properly held, bring your shoulder blades together and pull your hands apart until both hands are completely extended, making a “T” shape with your upper body.
Squats can be completed without a resistance band, but they are even more effective when there is a bit of pushback coming from something like a band. You will start by standing in the middle of the resistance band with both hands gripping either end of the band. You will then slowly bend your knees and go into a squat position with your hips pushed back (as if you were sitting) and your back straight.
As you pull up slowly, you will feel the resistance coming from the band which is what will cause you to build more stamina, muscle, and overall stability. Once you have completely straightened up into a standing position, continue with repetition.