The morning is a great time to engage the elderly in physical activity. Common ailments such as arthritis often feel worse in the mornings due to joint stiffness after being in bed overnight. Sleep disturbances might make lethargy and irritability more common in the morning. A moderate, low-impact workout helps the elderly cope with pain, increase flexibility and improve mood. Exercise also reduces the risk of dementia. Elders should talk to their doctor before engaging in a new fitness regimen.
When the weather cooperates, it is highly beneficial for the elderly to soak in some rays of sunshine in the morning. A moderately paced walk is a good way to warm up the muscles and joints so as to be ready for a more challenging activity such as golf or dancing. In warm-weather climates, it is important that seniors engage in outdoor activities in the early part of the day, before the heat makes exercising dangerous.
Focus on Flexibility
Many seniors wake up in pain due to flare-ups of arthritis. This makes morning the ideal time to engage in gentle stretching exercises such as yoga to warm up those stiff joints and muscles. The Seated Mountain pose, the Dancing Warrior I pose and the Modified Bridge pose help improve flexibility, posture and balance. Practicing these skills early in the day will offer benefits all day long. Chairs and props are useful aids for any yoga poses requiring balance or stability.
Add in Aerobics
Beginning the day with moderate aerobic exercise gives a senior's metabolism an early boost that will facilitate greater activity throughout the day. A faster metabolism helps the body burn calories efficiently, and staying trim helps to reduces the risk of diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. A stationary bike or treadmill is a good starting point, especially machines that track distance, calories burned and heart rate. Joining an aerobics class at the local senior center provides reinforcement from friends, support from a class environment and the regulation of a scheduled activity.
Take a Dip
Swimming is a refreshing way to begin the day, and mornings at the neighborhood pool facility -- if there's no pool at home -- tend to be less crowded and therefore less intimidating for seniors. A few laps in the pool, or activities such as water jogging, are low-impact workouts that will not aggravate the joints and help to relieve joint pain. Water activities offer important cardiovascular benefits and help prevent muscle loss. Swimming is also appropriate for those focused on improving their balance, as the water acts as a cushion, preventing falls. Modified versions of yoga and Pilates performed in the water are offered at some gyms and senior community centers.