For seniors, staying active is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. It’s also important that they find activities at their own pace and still enjoy so exercising doesn’t feel like an overwhelming task.
Sadly, commuting to the gym regularly is an obstacle even for the youngest and most active individuals, and some seniors might not even have the resources to do so. Therefore, the best resource they can utilize is online fitness programs created specifically for them.
This article will discuss some of the best resources for seniors to get fit using fitness programs. First, we’ll cover television programs they might have access to if this is their preferred medium, and then we’ll list the three online fitness programs we recommend for seniors getting started. You’ll also learn why these programs, or fitness in general, is vital for senior citizens and the benefits it allows.
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Is There an Exercise Program on TV for Seniors?
Not long ago, people loved following along with fitness programs they purchased on VCR tapes or turned on their television in the morning. Because television has been thriving much longer than the Internet, it is still the preferred method for many seniors. However, the cable isn’t what it used to be.
Nowadays, you have to pay for a number of additional channels, and more shows are switching over to private streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. With this shift away from cable television in modern homes, seniors might find programs they’ve enjoyed for years are slowly diminishing, fitness programs included.
If you’re a senior looking for a fitness program, you can watch it on the television every morning at the same time. Then we’re sorry to say, those days have long passed. Currently, there are no fitness programs on public television for individuals of any age group unless they are on a channel dedicated to running re-runs of old fitness shows.
While it was certainly convenient to wake up and flip to your favorite channel at 8 am every morning for a solid workout, public television doesn’t provide this outlet anymore. Instead, people are expected to subscribe to specific exercise channels like ExerciseTV, Acacia TV, Fit Fusion, and even Xfinity. However, not all of these are appropriate for seniors easing their way into exercising.
Seniors intent on watching a television program regularly to work out will find their best option on PBS. Although the show is no longer filming new seasons, “Sit and Be Fit” is an acclaimed fitness favorite for seniors and is backed by members of the medical and health community. Seniors can either sit or stand as they perform simple, low-impact movements to help them stay active and improve fitness.
What Makes a Fitness Program Appropriate for Senior Citizens?
There are a vast number of fitness programs found online and through streaming services that all focus on different body types, age groups, fitness goals, exercise styles, and more. Of all these choices, it is imperative that seniors choose those that suit them best for the sake of their safety and health.
While seniors are certainly capable of being fit individuals, they have to recognize that their body isn’t going to operate the same as a 20-year old or even a 50-year old person’s body. Aging makes your body physically weaker and frailer, regardless of who you are. Add that to chronic pains such as arthritis and other age-related ailments, and the discomfort and challenges that come with exercising increase dramatically.
Therefore, to prevent injury and illness (potentially to a life-threatening degree), seniors should stick to senior-focused fitness programs. These programs should be filled with low-to-moderate intensity and low-impact aerobic exercises. These exercises will work a senior’s heart and muscles without adding unnecessary strain, resulting in serious injury or rendering the exercise beyond their physical capabilities.
If the program you’re looking at has words like “high intensity,” “HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training),” “fat-burning,” or “weight training” as the top priorities, they aren’t for you. Most high-intensity programs are too physically demanding for seniors, and a lot of programs that focus on burning fat will incorporate high-intensity exercises to be effective.
While seniors can lift weights, it’s best to avoid them in the beginning until you’ve built up your strength. Alternatively, you can stick to small weights of 5lbs or less. Many weight-heavy programs are focused on helping people build significant muscle to lift large sums rather than using them to be healthy and maybe get toned, which is more what a senior would want.
What Types of Exercises Are in Senior Focused Fitness Programs?
As we mentioned previously, fitness programs aren’t all the same, even for specific age groups like seniors. Many of them will incorporate various aerobic exercises that are low impact and have varying degrees of intensity, but the specific exercises will depend on the program.
For example, yoga is an exceptional practice that will help seniors get started at being more fit without overwhelming their bodies. In yoga, they’ll perform various asanas (or poses) that will help improve their balance, flexibility, and strength with little to no impact on their joints.
Other fantastic exercise options for seniors include:
- Tai chi
- Water aerobics
- Seated yoga or exercises
If you’re a senior with a decent base regarding strength and flexibility, you could try slightly more intense workouts, such as resistance bands or exercises, even bodyweight workouts, and strength training.
It is always best for seniors to join fitness programs that focus on increasing flexibility, slowly building strength, and improving cardiovascular function over alternatives, like weight loss. Utilizing these low-impact aerobic or cardio exercises will undoubtedly result in weight loss, but in a much safer way than if you were to push yourself to perform higher-intensity fat-burning workouts instead.
Still, every senior’s body is a little different, so some might be able to handle some of these exercises and even higher intensity ones better than others. It’s all about finding what fits your body’s limits, your lifestyle, and your exercise preferences best for overall success.
3 Easy to Get Started Online Fitness Programs for Seniors
Now that we’ve covered the types of fitness programs and exercises that benefit seniors best let’s provide some legitimate examples seniors can find easily online.
Since television exercise programs are nearly extinct (unless you use a streaming service or subscribe to a channel), the best place to find effective and safe workouts is online. Often, you can find them quick, easy, and for free on YouTube, but sometimes the best programs are found on certified coach’s website (and not always for free), so which program suits you depends on what you’re looking for and whether or not you’re willing to pay.
For the sake of accessibility, we’re going to choose three YouTube channels dedicated to senior fitness. These include:
- Jenny McClendon
- Senior Fitness With Meredith
While there are a number of YouTube channels with exceptional senior-focused exercise videos, these are the top channels we recommend with the most senior-friendly fitness program content taught by skilled coaches/personal trainers and medical experts.
We’re going to start our list with one of the friendliest faces on YouTube, Jenny McClendon. If you’re looking for a fitness program that is hosted by someone who is incredibly warm and down-to-earth, you’ll love her channel.
Don’t worry; Jenny is much more than a smiling face on the screen. With 30 years of experience in the fitness industry specializing in group classes for seniors and beginners, in addition to being a licensed Physical Therapist for over 20 years, she is more than qualified to create safe and effective fitness programs for seniors.
Her channel has a vast selection of exercises, from stretches to strengthening to pain relief and more. All tailored towards seniors and beginners, so you’ll feel right at home here. Many of the exercises include variations of low-impact aerobics, Tabata, and circuit training taught with music and Jenny’s unfailing cheers of motivation.
You can also find Jenny and her senior fitness program content on her website Jenny Fit Start where you can find workouts, products, subscribe to her newsletter, or join Jenny’s, Fit Bunch. This paid membership costs $9.99/month and gives you access to a weekly live class with Jenny, weekly 30-minute personal training sessions, and access to all of her content as well as a Q&A chat.
Senior Fitness With Meredith
Another fantastic source of online fitness for seniors is Senior Fitness With Meredith, owned and hosted by Meredith Chen.
Meredith has a substantial amount of content for senior exercises that are currently split into several user-friendly playlists, such as:
- Balance Posture & Stretch
- With Weights
- Resistance Bands
This makes it easier for viewers to find exercises that fit their preferences or fitness level while still providing variety for choosing a different style throughout the week.
In addition to these playlists, Meredith also posts Livestreams where seniors from all over the world tune in and exercise as a community live with Meredith. She also posts vlogs where she answers common questions posed by seniors and provides helpful tips and advice on how they can improve their overall health.
All of the information Meredith provides comes from years of experience and training. She is a certified AFAA personal trainer and has various group fitness certifications that inform all of her exercises and fitness programs to ensure they are safe and appropriate for senior participants.
In addition to YouTube, you can find Meredith on her personal website, Senior Fitness With Meredith, where she posts all of her exercise videos and live streams along with her podcast content, motivation videos, shop, and relevant articles she deems important for her followers.
If you search “senior exercises” online or in the YouTube search bar, one of the first sources you will find is the dynamic duo of HASfit.
Run by couple Joshua (“Coach Kozak”) and Claudia Kozak, Heart And Soul fit (HASfit) are some of the most well-organized and renowned fitness program creators online today. Although their content doesn’t focus solely on seniors, there are a number of playlists dedicated to senior-friendly exercises substantial enough to rival the previous two options.
Over seven years, these two personal trainers have created over 100 million free workouts, all available online, and have been consistently ranked as one of the top 10 best YouTube channels for years. If that isn’t credible enough, Coach Kozak is an ISSA-certified trainer, and Claudia is currently working towards being a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
One of the nice elements about HASfit’s videos is that both trainers are present and will represent two individuals with different physical capabilities. For example, Claudia is often seated and using lighter weights for exercises, while Coach Kozak remains standing and will use heavier equipment. This gives participants the option of choosing which approach suits them best and even allows them to swap between the two throughout the session, depending on the exercise.
All sessions are brief, lasting 15, 20, or 30 minutes, focusing highly on stretching, low impact exercises, or reducing pain in various body parts. If you’re interested in finding more from HASfit, you can visit their website, where they post videos, offer programs, and give helpful advice for healthy living.
Working out is essential for a healthy life, but even more so for seniors as it can help prevent significant health issues and prolong their lifespan. Thankfully, countless online fitness programs are made just for seniors that can be easily accessed for free on YouTube. We highly recommend trying out some programs by Jenny McClendon, Senior Fitness With Meredith, or HASfit for any senior ready to get moving and exercise regularly and safely while having fun.