Exercises for Women Over 90 Years Old

When you reach 90 years old, the body does not produce new cells when existing ones die. As a result, you will lose muscle mass, bone mass and strength. However, you can overcome the deterioration by exercising. Despite your old age, you can still exercise and keep your body in good shape.

Senior woman swimming in pool, close-up of face
Swimming is a good exercise for older women. (Image: Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Strength Building Exercises

Based on a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, geriatrics can benefit much from doing weight training exercises. You can maintain muscle mass or slow down deterioration by keeping the muscles in healthy condition. Some of the ideal exercises include doing squats, overhead presses and bench presses. The weight should not be too heavy since your hips and joints are not as strong as they used to be. You can start working out using a bar without weights until you increase strength. You can also do squats with your body weight and pushups first to test your strength level.

Stability Exercises

There are recommended stability exercises for 90-year-olds that will increase your core strength, thereby helping you with movement, range of motion and balance. Swimming, doing planks and flexibility exercises will keep you stable and prevent injury. You can tolerate regular activities and even play light sports when you have a stable core and strong body. The legs should be exercised since these keep you stable and are among the biggest muscles in the body. You can also do hip and lower back exercises to avoid pain and injury when lifting.

An example of a hip routine is standing upright while holding onto a chair or table and slowly bending one knee towards your chest without bending the hips or waist. Hold steady for one second and then slowly lower the leg. Take a three-second pause and do the same with your other leg.

For your lower back, you can try the seated stretch. Sit with your buttocks to the back of the chair and place your legs shoulder-width apart, your feet flat on the floor and your hands on your lap for support. Slowly lean forward while keeping your back straight until you feel a stretch on your back; then stop. Slowly return to your original position as you round your back out to also stretch the upper back.

Stamina Building

Based on a study in the "Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine and Science," cardiovascular training can increase your stamina and help you tolerate various activities regardless of the location. Some of the best exercises for 90-year-olds include swimming, working out on the elliptical machine or stationary bicycle and aerobics. These will not put unnecessary pressure on your joints and hips and will help you pump blood efficiently throughout the body, thereby boosting endurance. Choose a cardiovascular activity that’s safe for your knees and bones, then do these for 20 to 40 minutes three times a week.

Light Aerobics and Stretching

A study published on Eurekalert showed that light aerobics and stretching improved a geriatric’s condition significantly over 12 weeks. As a result, you have better balance and posture, lowered risk for falls and even improved mental function. The blood circulates better throughout the body when stretching and doing cardiovascular activity, thereby improving the overall condition of the elderly. You will also find increased immunity against diseases and a more relaxed and calm demeanor because of the activity. Do the exercise at least three times a week. Stretching sessions can last for 10 to 20 minutes while light aerobics can be done in 20 to 40 minutes.

Restrictions and Risks

You should be accompanied by a trainer or physical therapist throughout all the sessions. When you get used to the exercises, you may increase the intensity gradually. Avoid activities that place a lot of pressure on your joints and bones. When recovering from injury, progression of activities should be slow and based on professional evaluation results.

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