Everyone knows that exercise and staying active is good for you. It can make your more physically fit, make you less stressed out, and give you more self confidence. Most people understand these benefits but still don’t make the lifestyle change to exercise. This may be because they don’t know how to start.
There are a few simple ways that you can get active as a senior and a few tips that you can take advantage of to get started. First, though, if you don’t understand the benefits that getting active can have on your physical and mental health, it is best to learn more about that.
Benefits of Exercise
Exercise obviously holds a number of net positives that can help anyone, regardless of age, improve their lives. There are many common physical and mental health benefits that can lead to a reduced risk of health problems and improved quality of life.
There are several obvious physical health benefits associated with exercise. For one, exercise will help you regulate weight and lose weight if needed. It can also lead to a reduced risk of certain chronic diseases and illnesses such as improved blood pressure, lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, and more.
Mental Health Benefits
Exercise and activity can lead to a number of different health benefits including improved sleep, boosts in mood, and increased self-confidence. Exercise helps people sleep more quickly and deeply, allowing them to wake feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Exercise can also be a stress reliever and help produce endorphins helping to reduce sadness, depression, or anxiety.
1. Start Slow
Starting exercise can be the most difficult thing for some people. Many may not know when or how to start. If you are wondering how to go about this, the best thing to do is to set a specific date in which you will start and stick to it. One way that you can encourage yourself more would be to try to start with someone else. Not only would they be getting healthier with you, they can help hold you accountable.
If you are unsure how you should start, the best way is to just start slow and not try to do too much at the beginning. It is much better to work your way up to a full exercise than to throw yourself into something that may cause injury.
Stretching holds several benefits that can help with day-to-day living. It can help to improve muscle length, flexibility, and joint health. All of which are important for . If an older adult is more flexible, they will be more likely to become injured or have different pain throughout the body.
The best thing about stretching is that it is not difficult to start. You can start by stretching two to three days a week and working your way to five or even seven days a week.
3. Yoga Or Tai Chi
Yoga and Tai Chi are mind and body exercises that combine both physical fitness and postures with breathing exercises and relaxation. It is meant to improve physical and mental well-being. If you have never done yoga before, or are new to the exercise, it is important to make sure that you are putting your safety first as yoga can lead to issues for some people with health problems like arthritis, balance problems, high blood pressure, glaucoma, and more.
With that said, yoga and tai chi has been found to help with some of these issues. For example, Tai Chi has been found to be effective in decreasing the number of falls and the risk for falling. It was also found to improve functional balance and physical performance for people aged 70 and older.
4. Set Exercise Goals
Setting exercise goals can be a primary motivator to help people get up and get active. Goals should be specific, realistic, and personally important. These goals are something that you should track and review regularly. Any progress you make should be noted and priorities and goals should change as you see fit.
So, for example, an early goal could be to exercise two days a week. As you continue to meet this goal, you can up it to three or four days a week. Other specific goals could include walking one mile, working out for 30 minutes, or going for a light jog.
5. Aquatic Exercise
Some seniors might be scared or worried about beginning exercise as it can lead to falls and injuries. Luckily, aquatic exercise and therapy is a much safer option compared to things like running and weight lifting.
Exercise done by the pool can help maintain balance and even improve balance when not in the water. Exercise is also a form of strength training as the resistance that comes with movement in the water is a good way to build muscle without having to use weights.
Like general exercise, aquatic exercise is known to help with weight regulation and body fat and help improve things like flexibility, balance, agility, and power.
There has also been evidence that aquatic exercise can help with certain medical conditions that can impede normal exercise, such as arthritis.
While exercise can be immensely beneficial for people who take the time to get and stay active, for many seniors, exercise can lead to injury or they may already have debilitating injuries that make exercise impossible. For these people, day-to-day life may be difficult and independent living may be unsafe. If this is the case for you or your loved one, seeking the help of an assisted living facility or a caretaker may be the best thing you can do to keep your loved one safe at this stage in their life.
Landmark Senior Living is one assisted living facility in New Mexico that is dedicated to providing our residents with the care and activities that they need and want to make their stay with us both safe and enjoyable. If you are interested in learning more about how Landmark can help, please visit our website and schedule a free tour of one of our facilities.