For anyone, staying in shape is a positive way to keep happy and healthy-Senior fitness is a great way to obtain that goal. It’s also an excellent method for lowering risk of adverse health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and even anxiety and depression. Regularly scheduled physical activities are even more important for persons at an advanced age level. Staying active can improve quality of life for seniors, reduce risk of falling injuries and improve mental perception. In order to live long, productive lives, it’s important for seniors to keep their bodies moving, fueled with the right substances, and achieving adequate sleep.
Why is Health and Fitness Important for Seniors?
With the advancement of age, there comes a bevy of unavoidable body changes. Metabolism is expected to slow down, and the body accumulates fat much easier than it used to, as opposed to generating muscle strength. Risk of osteoporosis also rises, especially in elderly women, increasing the likelihood of bone fractures and serious injuries. However, with the right exercise regimen in place, you can reduce these other aging related changes in the body.
Important benefits include:
- Improvements in mood and mental clarity
- Improved sleep
- Reduced risk of falling, bone fractures
- Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and dementia
Strength Training for Seniors
Strength training is one of the oldest methods of building muscle size and strength. However, for may seniors, it can be an intimidating leap to begin this kind of training. It’s important though, because even taking small steps towards increasing overall muscle strength with senior fitness can have lasting benefits. The CDC recommends participating in strength training workouts at least twice a week in order to stay healthy as a senior. Always start using small weights when you first begin strength training, and implement a changing lineup of muscle targeted workouts throughout each week.
The following core five movements should all be targeted at least once per week. Check out Elder Gym for detailed instructions on elderly health and fitness exercises.
- Chest press
- Compound Row
- Overhead Press
- Leg Press
Each workout requires a small amount of stabilization on the part of the rest of the body. In order to maximize the benefits, make sure to start slowly, with weights you can handle, and make all movements gradual and slow. Find a comfortable rep and set amount where you feel adequately tired but not in pain. And if it is your first time, make sure to have someone stand by to spot check.
Aerobic Exercise for Seniors
If you’re aged 65 or older, the CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of medium to intense Aerobic activity a week. Aerobic activity is any exercise that increases our heart rate for an extended period of time. To build endurance makes your heart stronger and in time you’ll see positive changes in health and mood.
To get started, it’s important to approach all exercise gradually. To build aerobic endurance, begin with small walks or jogs. Once you’ve reached a 30 minute walk without feeling winded, you’re prepared to move on to more rigorous aerobic activities. For the best results, it’s important to make sure your heart rate is getting elevated at an acceptable rate.
Some ideal, low-impact methods of exercise to start with for seniors include:
- Water aerobics
- Line dancing
Flexibility Exercises for Seniors
Before starting any workout regime, it’s best to make sure your body is nice and warmed up. This can be achieved by anything as small as going for a short walk to stretching and holding yoga poses for 10 seconds at a time. If your muscles are feeling tight, you should get warmed up and stretch before engaging in a workout. We usually exercise to make our bodies feel better, exercising without proper stretching can result in injury that will make your body’s condition worsen.
As the body ages, the structure of your bones and muscles change. If you’re not careful about maintaining a range of motion and activity throughout the day, the body can grow accustomed to stagnation.Stretching is an excellent way to relieve tension, improve the body’s health, and improve posture.
Some good flexibility exercises for seniors to do include:
The important thing to remember about flexibility exercises for seniors is that they need regularity. That means continually using them with correct form and adequate duration each time.
At Landmark Senior Living, our goal is to create the utmost in independent living for every one of our senior housing residents. Our independent living program is tailored to each individual’s needs and includes robust daily exercise, yoga, & strength training classes available for senior fitness enthusiasts. Our broad range of activities and events will help you to take care of your mental and physical health.