Best Types of Exercise for Seniors and Safety Tips
Exercise is one activity that you shouldn’t put on the shelf even as you grow older. It is one of the best ways to remain active and physically healthy. It also keeps your mind agile. When you are physically and mentally strong, it makes it easier for you to live independently in your old age, while seamlessly carrying out everyday tasks.
Physical activity can help boosts your strength and improve your balance & mood. It can help improve your medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. It also keeps depression at bay, and research indicates that physical activity lowers the risk of several cancers.
Exercise for seniors includes a mix-and-match of strength and endurance exercises, stretching and flexibility exercises, and balance exercises. Thus, below are a few exercise routines for seniors that’ll greatly benefit older adults, making them stay healthier for longer.
A] Best Exercises for Seniors
Unlike normal walking, brisk walking can be as effective as running for older adults. It gets the heart rate up and improves the functioning of the muscles as well as strengthens them. As a low impact exercise for seniors, brisk walking also prevents arthritis, and injury from this type of exercise is limited. Brisk walking is good for bones & muscles and can lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc.
Yoga is a combination of strength training, balance, and flexibility exercise. The different yoga postures can help improve balance and strengthen the bones & muscles. It can also help improve sleep and is one of the best ways to de-stress. Breathing exercises can help increase lung capacity and improve blood circulation. Depending on the age, physical ability as well as the current level of fitness, there are various types of yoga that older adults can practice.
A fun exercise routine for seniors, swimming helps improve cardiovascular health and endurance. It is a full-body workout for seniors, which is also gentle on the joints. It can help alleviate back pain and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It can also improve muscle strength while increasing the flexibility of the neck, arms, hips, and legs.
Pilates is an excellent senior fitness workout routine that helps increase endurance, core strength, and flexibility. Since it can be performed while lying, reclining, or seated, this exercise program can be easily integrated with a muscle rehabilitation program for faster recovery from surgical procedures. Pilates also helps improve coordination & balance, thus helping seniors maintain mobility.
Another fun activity for older adults, cycling is not only enjoyable but also offers countless benefits. It is a low-impact exercise that doesn’t overtly exert pressure on the joints. Cycling helps boost metabolism, which aids in weight loss. It helps improve memory and enhances cognitive functions. The best part, cycling can be done at any time of the day (morning or evening), and the chances of injury are also minimal as seniors get to set the pace.
This type of exercise helps lubricate muscles and joints, making them flexible. Stretching different body muscles (sides, thighs, neck, back, arms, calves) can prevent stiffness. What’s more, it reduces the risk of falling and helps boost blood flow and energy levels. To learn more, check out these stretching exercises for seniors.
As you age, you tend to lose muscle mass and muscle strength. The scientific word for it ‘sarcopenia.’ With strength training, older adults can preserve muscle mass, ensuring they have a stronger & healthier body with improved mobility. Some of the simple bodyweight exercises for seniors are stair climbing, squats, wall push-ups, side planks, hip bridges, among others.
This is another beneficial seniors exercise program. Tai Chi is a low-intensity workout that helps enhance balance and flexibility. It helps improve both physical and mental well-being. It also helps reduce stress, improves mood, and helps older people get a more restful sleep.
These are a cost-effective exercise tool that is widely used to build muscles at home and for other purposes. By incorporating resistance training in their daily routine, seniors can greatly improve their muscle strength, as they help engage almost all major muscle groups. It can also help improve flexibility and balance. Besides, resistance-band are lightweight and easy to use, making them ideal for at-home exercise, at your convenience.
As an older adult, if you prefer group workout, over-exercising solo, then aerobic is a perfect choice. It is one of the best cardio workouts for seniors that is fun and enjoyable and extremely exhilarating. It helps pump more oxygen and blood to your body. It also helps improve the health of your heart and lungs. In short, it is an amazing senior exercise routine that helps you to not only get healthy but also socialize with like-minded people.
For older adults who prefer one-on-one training, hiring a personal trainer is an excellent option. A personal trainer will customize exercises to suit your needs. He will ensure that you are exercising daily, making exercise a habit. The best part, he will also ensure you are eating a healthy and balanced diet. This, in turn, can have a positive impact on your overall health.
B] Exercise Safety Tips for Seniors
- Discuss with your health care provider before starting with any exercise routine, especially if you have a medical condition.
- Wear appropriate shoes to prevent injury and dress comfortably. Also, ensure that you begin your workout with a warm-up and cool down afterward.
- It is important to start slow with low-intensity senior workouts and build-up steadily to prevent overexertion. The thumb rule is to stop at the first sign of pain. Listen to your body; it knows best. If you feel dizzy, experience pain or shortness of breath, then seek medical help immediately.
- Keep yourself hydrated. Ensure that you have a bottle of water at hand and drink water before, during, and after your workouts. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, it is important to sip on water continuously.
- Take a break of at least one day (in a week) to give your body time to rest and recuperate.
To sum up, as an older adult, slow and steady is what you should aim for when beginning with these best exercise routines for seniors. Your body has undergone a lot of changes over the years and may not be able to perform strenuous workouts. Thus, it is best to start with exercises that you are most comfortable with, as that will help you to maintain your fitness level without jeopardising your health.
What’s more, for a comprehensive fitness plan, tailored for your specific needs, you can always hire a personal trainer to help you out.