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Exercises for Seniors

Health Writer

Exercising Can Help You Stay Young

Exercise is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle no matter what your age is. However, as you get older, staying active can become more difficult. You may have aches and pains to deal with, creaking joints, a bad back, and other age-related physical ailments. While it may seem counterintuitive to exercise with these conditions, staying active is one of the best ways to slow down your body’s natural physical decline.

Exercise - Is it Really Necessary?

Staying active is something that most people find hard to do. With work, family, and other day to day responsibilities getting in the way, physical fitness often gets pushed aside. But the older you get, the more important it becomes to stay physically fit. Staying fit can help manage age related health conditions such as arthritis, menopause symptoms, and depression. Regular exercise is also one of the best ways to prevent weight issues and chronic disease. Exercise is good for your mind too, as it can serve as a stress reliever and boost your mood. Overall, staying fit is a great way to enhance your longevity and maintain your independence for the years to come.

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Exercises for Seniors

While there are a number of effective and enjoyable exercises for seniors out there, exercises that help you improve your cardiovascular health, flexibility, balance, and strength are ideal.

1. Aerobic Exercises

If you are 65 years old or older, it’s vital that you keep your heart strong. Aerobic exercises are a great way to do just that. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each week seniors should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity. Not only will this keep your heart strong, but it will improve your endurance. The stronger your heart is and the better your endurance, the more independent you can remain as you get older. Also, because aerobic exercises are diverse, anyone can enjoy them. Try going for a swim, doing water aerobics, Thai Chi, going on a hike, or even dancing to get your heart pumping and maintain your health.

2. Balance and Stretching Exercises

As you age, your range of motion gradually decreases. The best way to combat this change is through stretching and flexing your body. That is why stretching exercises, like yoga, are great for seniors. This type of exercise improves your balance and mobility. Try adding yoga or stretching exercises into your workout at least twice a week to stay mobile and maintain your range of motion. You can also stretch for 10 minutes every morning and night to keep your body loose, relaxed, and flexible. Remember, don’t push yourself too hard or strain your muscles. Stretching should not hurt. Doing too much too quickly will ultimately do more harm than good, so start slow.

3. Strength Exercises

As you age, you naturally begin to lose muscle mass. Strength training is one of the best ways to maintain your strength as you age. The best part is, you don’t have to lift weights. Body weight exercises such as push-ups, squats, and lunges are a great place to start when you begin strength training.  For more of a challenge, add weight or resistance bands and gradually work your way up in intensity. Not only will this help you stay mobile and carry out functional day to day tasks, but strength exercises can also reduce your risk of injury. The stronger your muscles and joints are, the less likely you are to experience falls or have decreased mobility as you age.

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Making Lifestyle Changes

Exercise is important for everyone, especially seniors. While it may be difficult to get into the habit of working out, doing so can help you stay healthy, prevent injuries, and even improve your mood. Although exercising is crucial for your health, the most important thing to remember is that reaching your fitness goals takes time. Start slow, build your endurance, and persevere.

The best way to get or stay active as you age is by slowly incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. This can be as simple as taking a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood every day or just taking the stairs more often. Overall, the most important thing is to pace yourself and implement habits that you can sustain. Then, with a little patience you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you.

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