Anyone looking to stay strong and active can use a few exercise videos in their routine. But trying to find great exercise videos for older adults can means wading through nearly endless (not-so-great) options.
"I haven't had a lot of success finding quality workout videos for seniors. I find so many of the instructors talk down to the seniors, and that bothers me," says Laura Flynn Endres, a Los Angeles-based personal trainer who works with older adults. "My seniors can do some impressive things and are amazing clients! No need to talk down to them."
That said, some instructors really do get it. The following three exercise videos for seniors, for example, really stand out from the crowd with their positive approach, smart routines and workout variety.
Read the list below of videos the pros turn to again and again, and you'll find suggestions for uncovering more gems that'll keep your fitness routine fresh and fun. Bonus: They're all 100 percent free.
1. Senior Fitness With Meredith
- Workout types: cardio, boxing, HIIT, core, strength, stretching, yoga, posture, balance
- Skill level: all
The Senior Fitness With Meredith free online hub offers an impressive library workouts for older adults. It has cardio routines, chair exercise videos, stretching and yoga sessions, as well as posture and balance routines.
You can search the workouts by skill level, length (10 to 50 minutes), equipment (resistance bands, weights, playground ball) and/or workout type.
As Flynn Endres notes, the site offers a wide variety of safe and appropriate exercise variations and modifications for seniors. "[Meredith] also does a great job of teaching the workouts without coming across as condescending," she says.
Find it: SeniorFitnessWithMeredith.com; Price: free
- Workout types: strength, core, mobility, flexibility, balance, breathing
- Skill level: all
Personalized health and nutrition company NativePath features roughly 90 follow-along routines for older adults — for free.
"I designed all of NativePath's workout videos specifically for seniors who would like to have a great fitness routine in their own home," says Chad Walding, DPT, a physical therapist who works with older adults and NativePath co-founder.
These routines are dedicated to help decrease joint pain, improve posture and balance and strengthen key muscles with minimal equipment.
"And for seniors who can get on the floor, there are a few workout videos focused on core strengthening," Walding says.
Find it: NativePath.com; Price: free
- Workout type(s): Flexibility, mobility, balance, cardio, strength
- Skill level(s): All
You can't go wrong with a classic like SilverSneakers, a program that keeps older adults front and center. Flynn Endres likes SilverSneakers videos because there are so many options — hundreds, in fact.
"They offer a wide variety of workouts that cover everything from strength to balance to agility," she says. "And they're taught by different instructors from varying age groups." Choose from on-demand videos or join a live class.
The only downside: You can't access the full library of exercise videos unless you're enrolled in select Medicare plans. So check your coverage before signing on.
Find it: SilverSneakers.com; Price: free through select Medicare plans
3 Tips for Finding Great Exercise Videos for Older Adults
1. Always Preview First
You might be tempted to try a video based on the description alone, but you should really give it a closer look first.
"I always recommend that my clients skim an exercise video to be sure it seems doable for them," Flynn Endres says. "It's never wise to jump right into doing brand new exercise variations you've never seen before."
As you preview the video, consider whether it has exercises you know you can do safely. If the video looks challenging but doable, you're good to go.
2. Grade the Instructor
The instructor can make or break your workout experience. Look for videos with instructors who do a great job of explaining the exercises. This means they offer helpful cues, demonstrate proper form and remind you it's OK to modify things to best fit your body, Flynn Endres says.
Also, check the instructor's background. "The number-one quality for workout instructors is experience working with seniors," Walding says.
3. Find the Right Workout Type(s)
There are so many different types of workout videos for older adults, and your exercise videos should check certain boxes. Most importantly, they should build strength.
"Muscle mass declines as we get older, and when we lack strength, everything becomes harder and movement will be limited," Flynn Endres says. Skip the "toning" and "sculpting" routines and look for ones that focus on functional movements, which support daily activities like getting up and down from a chair and pushing, pulling and carrying objects, Walding adds.
Other workout styles to look for include balance- and posture-building routines, as well as mobility sessions to target joint health.
"I also want my older adults doing daily cardio, so if they'll do daily walks, great, but if not, they might enjoy aerobics or dance videos designed for older adults," Flynn Endres says.
And make sure to look for videos that call for the equipment you have available. If you don't have weights, you can substitute with household items like water bottles.
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