As a senior, you’re no stranger to the importance of staying active and healthy into your golden years. Although the effects of aging may make the process a bit tougher, establishing a regular fitness regimen can give your physical and mental health a big boost. Read on to learn about the safe and effective workouts for older adults that will help you stay strong and fit in your senior years.
1. Encouraging Exercise for Aging Adults
Exercise is an important part of staying healthy and happy regardless of age, yet just 33.3 percent of adults 65 or over are meeting the recommended exercise guidelines. It’s the perfect time to encourage aging adults to remain—or become—physically active. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Improved balance to reduce the risk of falls
- Reduction in the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Improved strength and joint flexibility
- Enhanced mood and cognitive function
- Help with maintaining a healthy body weight
Additionally, exercise can be a great way to socialize. It can bring seniors together in an enjoyable, meaningful way—which also has its own long list of advantages, like reducing the risk of cognitive decline and depression.
The physical activities recommended for older adults don’t have to be overwhelming. Start small and include activities that will be enjoyable. Activities could include walking, swimming, cycling, chair aerobics, or water aerobics. If the weather permits, gardening, golf, and tennis are other outdoor activities that have the added benefit of fresh air and sunshine.
2. Achieving Fitness with Senior-Friendly Workouts
Staying fit and healthy is essential at any age and especially important for seniors. The good news is that it’s never too late to start an exercise program. There are plenty of senior-friendly workouts that can help you achieve your fitness goals.
Low Impact Cardio: Cardio helps burn calories for weight loss, providing additional energy. There are plenty of low-impact exercises that don’t put too much strain on your joints and can be done in the comfort of your own home. Some of these include walking, biking, swimming, and dance-based workouts.
Strength Training: Strength training helps protect muscle and bone density, and longevity. There are four main types of strength training: bodyweight exercises, free weights, bands, and stability exercise. It’s best to start with bodyweight exercises first. Once you’ve become comfortable with those, you can work your way up to using other equipment.
Core: Core exercises are important for balance and stability. Core exercises can include planks, side planks, bridges, and squats. These exercises can help improve posture, reduce the risk of falls, and strengthen the muscles around your spine that can help reduce back pain.
No matter your age, there are plenty of exercises you can do to get fit and stay healthy. Try to incorporate a mix of low-impact cardio, strength training, and core exercises into your weekly routine to get the most benefits. Make sure to consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
3. Benefits of Exercise for the Elderly
Regular exercise not only keeps us physically fit, but is an important component of healthy aging. Engaging in exercise can give the elderly a renewed sense of vitality and confidence, as well as a fresh outlook on life. Exercise can be especially beneficial for those seniors who are beginning to feel as though their physical mobility is declining.
Aside from the positive effects on physical health, exercise can also improve the mental health of elderly individuals. It can help them keep their minds sharp; resulting in better cognitive functioning and a decrease in depression, anxiety and stress. Exercise can also help to improve mood, social connections, and self-esteem.
- Improved Physical Function – Exercise helps to reduce physical impairments, such as stiff joints, weak muscles, poor balance, and poor posture.
- Enhanced Quality of Life – It promotes self-care, independence, self-confidence, and socialization.
- Increased Mobility – Exercise can help to improve strength, coordination, and balance, which makes it easier to perform everyday activities, such as carrying groceries or walking up stairs.
- Reduced Risk of Disease – It helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses that are common among the elderly.
Exercise can provide numerous physical and mental benefits for elderly individuals. It can help to improve physical functioning, enhance quality of life, increase mobility, and reduce the risk of certain diseases. For these reasons, it is important that elderly individuals stay as active as possible.
4. Staying Safe During Your Fitness Regimen
Moderation is Key
When you first begin a new exercise program it is important to remember to take it slow. Pushing too hard right away can result in muscle soreness, dehydration, and sometimes even injury. Staving away from such consequences is done best when modest and gradual steps are taken to establish the routine. The fitness industry may try to convince you to go that extra mile, but its often in your best interest to proceed with caution. Once you’ve become familiar with the routine, you can begin to take on more challenging exercises.
Use of Protective Gear
No matter the exercise, using protective gear is always an option. From knee or ankle straps to weightlifting gloves, these resources can help prevent any untimely injuries from happening. It’s always recommended that individuals inform themselves of the proper usage, material, and standards for the gear you plan to use, as this will ensure you’re getting the most out of it.
Follow Best Foot Forward Practices
Even the most vigilant individuals can run into preventable issues during workouts, so following a few best practices can help lessen the chance of harm occurring. Some helpful examples include being mindful of your posture, keeping fluids close by, having steady breathing, gently stretching prior to each exercise, and consistently informing yourself of the proper technique.
5. Establishing a Healthy and Active Lifestyle
Adopting a healthy and active lifestyle often requires commitment but helps to improve the overall quality of life.
- Start by identifying any existing health issues or goals you would like to achieve. Are you looking to lose weight, able to increase daily physical activity, or need help managing a stress-related health condition?
- Eat a balanced diet that is tailored to your specific dietary needs. Focus on reducing unhealthy fats and added sugars. Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables each day.
- Set reasonable goals for physical activity, including structured physical activities and incorporating more activity into everyday tasks.
- Eliminate, or at least limit, unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol use, and recreational drug use.
- Maintain good sleep hygiene practices, such as setting a consistent bedtime routine and avoiding excessive caffeine, to help ensure you get restful sleep each night.
- Follow physician-recommended protocols for managing chronic health problems associated with obesity or other health conditions.
- Make sure to consult your healthcare provider before beginning any new health and fitness initiatives or changing your diet.
Living a healthy and active lifestyle is attainable for everyone. With the right attitude and devotion, it can have a positive impact on your life. Create healthier habits and enjoy the benefits of a balanced and fit life.
As a senior, it is never too late to start a fitness regimen to improve overall health and well-being. With the help of fitness professionals, seniors can gain the knowledge and support they need to establish safe and effective exercise routines that will last a lifetime.