Seniors who exercise live better lives
Wellness is not just a state of mind – it’s a lifestyle.
Physical activity reduces the risks of many chronic conditions, prevents falls and decreases depression in older adults. And the older you are, the more you have to gain from exercise.
All it takes is 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Seniors should focus on exercises that complement their capabilities. This means choosing activities that are not only fun, but also functional for daily living.
*NOTE: Anyone starting a new physical fitness program should first consult with their doctor. It’s especially important for those with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes to talk to their doctor first. If you have any prolonged pain or discomfort from exercising, consult your doctor.
A complete exercise program for seniors should include:
Using weights and resistance can increase muscle mass as well as improve physical endurance. For seniors, this means using light weights and resistance bands to strengthen the body to avoid muscle failure and loss of mobility.
- Example: Light lifting with 8 pounds or less. Push-ups using knees as support. Outdoors, you can do light gardening, such as shoveling.
Practicing balancing exercises in conjunction with muscle-strengthening activities greatly reduces your chances for falling. For the elderly, this means light yoga, Tai Chi, and practicing standing with assistance.
- Example: Outdoors or at home, practice standing and sitting from stable furniture or from the kneeling or squatting position.
Stretching done with other exercises can help keep your body limber and maintain your mobility and balance. It can also help you recover from injuries faster.
- Example: Outdoors, at home or in the gym, create a stretching routine. This can be as easy as slowly turning your head from side to side. For others, a light yoga routine can help increase flexibility.
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