“You’re only as old as you feel.” There is some truth behind this classic phrase. As we age, it can be easy to settle down and become sedentary. Whether it is due to pain, health problems, or balance issues, some seniors find themselves avoiding exercise altogether. As you age, being active can largely impact your health.
Senior exercises can benefit your energy, help maintain your independence, prevent or manage illnesses, protect your brain, protect your heart, help with weight management, and improve sleep quality. There are a plethora of health benefits associated with exercise, the following are some ways to incorporate senior exercises safely into your day to day activities.
Safely Executed Exercise Plan
Having a health issue does not have to restrict you from remaining active. You just need a safely executed exercise plan that fits your unique physical needs. You can speak with a physical therapist, doctor, or community fitness coordinator to help develop a plan. However, for the most part, building a balanced exercise plan for a senior can be simple. If you are ready to increase your mobility, your plan needs to include 4 key areas.
This area is essential for senior exercises. Balance training is excellent for improving posture, quality of walking, and of course, overall balance. This area of exercise can also help seniors reduce the risk of falls. Here are a few balance exercises to try:
Moderate to intense cardio is a great way to strengthen your heart, lungs, and to lose weight. Fortunately, even light cardio poses significant health benefits, such as less fatigue, improved endurance, and can help in maintaining independence. If you participate in some form of cardio weekly you will most likely be able to clean, get around, and run errands easier than those who do not. Cardio does not have to be some crazy activity; all of the following can be considered in this area of exercise:
Climbing (even the stairs!)
3. STRENGTH TRAINING
If you are like most seniors, you may think you do not have that much strength. That is precisely why this area is essential for senior exercises. Strength training helps build muscle, prevent bone mass loss, improve speed and balance, and lower your risk of falls. Strength training will also help you remain independent longer. With every senior exercise, you should have a guide or fitness coach for assistance, but it is especially important to have someone with you for these exercises, as they can be more prone to injury.
Some of the strength training exercises are:
Repetitive bodyweight motion, e.g., sit-ups
This area of exercise helps to keep your body limber and increase movement range. Flexibility in senior exercises can help you stay agile while driving, playing games, or everyday activities, like showering. These activities include simple stretching techniques which can be done standing, sitting, or even laying down. A few of the activities mentioned above such as yoga can also help to improve flexibility, in addition to balance.
To exercise safely and properly, you need to receive medical clearance from your doctor. They may limit your activities, but do not let that discourage you from creating a plan. Also, keep in mind of all of your health concerns and listen to your body. If you feel lightheaded or in pain, stop, and take a break. It is important to warm up and cool down before and after exercise as to avoid injury. It is also essential to not push yourself too hard when you start exercising. You need to slowly build up your endurance and strength with each day you work on your workout plan.
Try these suggested senior exercises but always make sure to be safe. Have a friend who is comfortable in the gym join you or hire a fitness coach to help you perform to the best of your ability. Remember, all the work you have put in is directly for you! You deserve to be happy, healthy, and celebrate senior living every day!
If you want to learn more about embracing and celebrating senior living, then download our eBook and learn how to start.