How to Run Group Exercise Sessions for the Elderly

How to Run Group Exercise Sessions for the Elderly

User Profile By Susan Berg   United States

Found In: Activities Articles Exercise

We all know that exercise is good for us but for some reason, the older we get, the less we do. Contrary to popular belief, poor balance and muscle weakness has a lot more to do with inactivity than age.

We all know that exercise is good for us but for some reason, the older we get, the less we do. Contrary to popular belief, poor balance and muscle weakness has a lot more to do with inactivity than age.

In this article we cover:

  • The Benefits of Exercise for the Elderly
  • How to Get Resident to Participate
  • Make Group Exercises Fun with Props
  • Use Music to Lift Spirits
  • Keep Sessions Short
  • Tips for Running Group Sessions
  • Sample Exercise Routine

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Comments   Post a Comment

Darlene 6th Mar 2018
Do any of you offer a reward to the residents for participation in exercise groups? We were giving out "auction bucks" and then the residents could collect them to shop at a quarterly country store we put on. It had its up and downs and now we are looking for a different idea.
Solange 6th Mar 2018
Hi Darlene, one idea is to focus on the social component of exercises. For many elders, socialising is as (or more some) important as the physical benefits. Have a novelty food or drink every week after the exercises (tea tasting, foreign biscuits and cookies). Also, invite an enthusiastic personal trainer to talk about the benefits of exercises and hopefully inspire your clients to keep coming back. Best wishes.
Shirley 21st Jan 2018
All exercises are good,we do them all,I was a dancer & play the Piano,the sitting on chairs go down well.hold legs up point toes down then up,down up.while legs are up twist ankles round & round each way.Gently,slowly raise arms up in front while breathing IN, lowering arms down Out,4 times. repeat to breathing IN, then move arms out to the sides holding the breath,breathing out with arms coming back to front & back down,4 times.Close eyes relax all muscles fold hands on lap,let shoulders drop,breath in &out a few times,this is the slowing down we use to finish Exercises.Use Music always, especially the old songs.
Talita 27th Jan 2018
Thanks Shirley
Nori 18th Jan 2018
Wow, this article and the suggestions in the comments are great! Thanks so much!

I "borrowed" an idea from an activity supply catalog and adapted it for our tenants: On a lightweight and large children's ball (solid color), I wrote different movement suggestions. For example: "Do the actions to one verse of "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" or "Shake hands with the neighbor to your right". Then we throw the ball to each other (gently!) and wherever the tenant's right thumb lands on the ball, he or she reads the printed suggestion underneath out loud and "leads" the action! All of this can be done while seated. Tenants can even kick the ball to each other, and then when they (or if they can't bend well, I) pick up the ball, whatever suggestion is under their right thumb, that's the action we do!
Talita 21st Jan 2018
Great ideas, thanks for sharing Nori!
Leslie 20th Oct 2017
Thank you! This is really good and will be very helpful!
Jacqulyn 22nd Sep 2017
Thanks for the creative info! Just what we needed!
Edie 15th Sep 2017
I went to thrift stores and collected Frisbees as props. We pretend like we're driving and the frisbee is our steering wheel. We need to turn our necks to do our shoulder checks etc... There are a variety of other activities you can do with them as well. I also use thera-bands to strengthen and add variety. With a good joke at the beginning, good music throughout and a back rub at the end, it's a winning ticket. By offering variety and social interaction, I was able to take the group from 4 to 14 participants in 2 weeks time. You could also take PVC pipe, fill with sand and cap each end to create varying weight bars.
Residents love these!
Edie N.
Oshkosh, Wi
Solange 16th Sep 2017
Wonderful Edie! Thank you for sharing!
Susan 13th Sep 2017
I was always a big proponent of exercise.
After a time I like to vary the routine to keep it fresh.
Kristin 12th Sep 2017
I loved the exercise article! I enjoy doing a morning and afternoon exercise session with my residents. I never thought of using props. What a great idea! Andi love the idea of singing the various songs and the counting. Excellant!!! I'll be eager to add new life to my routine! Thank you and I'm so enjoying all the wonderful ideas in this forum! :)
Darla 12th Sep 2017
Fantastic!
Thank you Susan.
We are always looking for ways to promote exercise program, and you have given good examples.

Appreciated,
the recreation/activity staff at Columbia House
Janet 12th Sep 2017
This is great! Thanks so much!!
Susan 11th Sep 2017
Susan has submitted a new article: How To Run Group Exercise Sessions For The Elderly
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