Muscles have a tendency to atrophy and shorten if they are not exercised regularly. Seniors who are confined to their beds for long periods of time due to injuries or illnesses must work to retain strength, muscle mass, power, and functional capacity. Studies show that older adults tend to lose lean tissue faster than their younger counterparts during prolonged inactivity. Here are a few exercises ideal for bedbound seniors, presented by Home Care Assistance of New Hampshire.
1. Hip Abduction
Hip abduction exercises strengthen the muscles around the femur and hip joint. As people age, joints tend to show wear, but exercising specific areas keeps them strong. Hip abductions can be done lying down and only require a pillow or rolled towel between the legs. This exercise is done by moving each leg to the side and back, beginning with 5 repetitions and building up to 15. Your loved one can also lay on his or her side and raise and lower the leg.
2. Sliding Heel
To perform this exercise, your loved one can lay on his or her back with legs outstretched. Then, he or she slides the heel of the foot toward the buttocks one leg at a time. This action works core muscles throughout the body while also focusing on the hip flexors to help seniors remain stable.
3. Straight Leg Raise
This straight leg exercise helps increase agility, flexibility, and strengthens the hip flexor. Abdominal muscles also benefit from this exercise. Your senior loved one can lay with one leg bent at the knee while raising the straight leg up towards the ceiling, then repeating on the opposite side.
4. Knee Flexion
To perform the knee flex, your loved one should lie on his or her stomach, bend one knee at a time, and hold. Start with just a few reps and gradually work up to more. The knee flexion exercise keeps the muscles around the joint flexible and strong. Remember, strong muscles help protect joints.
5. Quad Sets
Bedbound individuals can strengthen their quads by lying on their back while tightening the thigh muscles. This exercise builds the muscles that are located in the upper part of the thigh and helps maintain complete range of motion.
Are you interested in learning more about senior health and fitness? Turn to Home Care Assistance. Our hourly, live-in, and respite caregivers help seniors maintain optimal wellbeing in the comfort of home, regardless of cognitive or physical ability. Learn more by calling (603) 471-3004 today.