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Our body changes as we age; our muscles get weaker, our rate of metabolism drops, and frequent ailments prevent us from performing the activities that we once enjoyed. In short, seniors slowly tend to move toward a sedentary lifestyle as they reduce their physical activity as they age. Daily physical activity is key for seniors who plan to have a healthy and fulfilling life.  

How does exercise benefit older adults?

Benefits of Exercises for Seniors

According to a Harvard study, more movement means ageing slows down, has better health, better memory, and can stay happier than a senior who moves less. Multiple studies confirm the need for seniors to participate in activities or exercises and be physically active. 

Exercise can improve the senior’s mood, keep them independent, protect their heart, and help them manage weight. Finding easy, fun ways to increase the senior’s activity level is ideal; activities like water aerobics, chair yoga, resistance workouts, and pilates are some exercises advised for seniors.  

Physical benefits of exercises for seniors

It helps maintain body weight.

Maintaining body weight can be challenging for seniors because of the decrease in metabolism.  Regular exercise helps boost metabolism and improves muscle strength. Exercises that combine cardio and strength training help build muscle, which in turn raises metabolism and burns more calories that help promote positive weight loss in seniors. 

Reduces the impact of illness and chronic diseases.

Seniors who frequently exercise have fewer chronic illnesses, better functioning immune and digestive systems, stable blood pressure and bone density, and are at a lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Improve your mobility, flexibility, and balance.

Exercise improves strength, flexibility, and posture, improves balance and coordination, and reduces the risk of falls. Strength training can also help reduce symptoms of chronic diseases such as arthritis.

Mental benefits of exercise for seniors

Get better sleep

Sleep is crucial for seniors because it can heal physical and cognitive damage. Regular weekly exercise can promote healthier, more restful sleep, increase sleep duration and quality, and even aid in long-term sleep problems like insomnia.

Feel more confident and happier

Exercise is a great way to decrease stress, and the endorphins it produces have are shown to lessen depressive and anxious feelings. Seniors are likely to feel confident when they are active and strong. 

Improve your brain function

Mental challenges such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku can keep seniors engaged, but nothing compares to the advantages of exercise for the brain. It can help with memory loss, dementia, and other brain functions, including creativity and multitasking. In conditions like Alzheimers disease, exercise may potentially slow its progression. 

Read More: Can Food Improve Your Brain Health? 

Top 5 exercises for seniors

Top 5 Exercises for Seniors

Variety is key when deciding which workouts are appropriate for senior citizens. All adults, especially those over 65, should concentrate on mobility and strength exercises along with balance and cardiovascular activities.

1. Water aerobics

Water aerobics is ideal for seniors with arthritis and other types of joint discomfort. Since the buoyancy of the water lessens the stress on the joints, exercising in the water is ideal. Water also provides natural resistance; thus, strength training does not require weights. Strength, flexibility, and balance will increase with aerobic workouts, as they put zero strain on the body. 

2. Strength Training

Resistance bands can increase resistance to workouts while putting less strain on the senior’s body. Exercises with resistance bands are simple to use and suitable for beginners. Resistance band workouts are perfect for at-home training because the materials are inexpensive. These exercises are also great for building up your core, which improves posture, balance, and mobility. 

3. Walking

Walking is one of the easiest forms of effective yet low-stress exercise. A healthy lifestyle recommendation for the general public is 10,000 steps per day. However, people with joint pain or have trouble walking may choose to set a lower goal. According to a study, walking 10,000 steps per day reduced mortality risk by 46% over ten years. Walking helps in enabling a healthy lifestyle, builds muscle, and reduces risk of diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, blood pressure and stroke. 

4. Tai Chi

Tai chi has little impact on the joints of the elderly and helps develop strength, flexibility, and balance. Seniors of any age can practice this in any location including their house, the park, or gym. In addition to enhancing balance, tai chi also benefits the mind. Its methodical, slow motions require intense focus and put seniors in a relaxed, contemplative state. 

5. Dancing

One of the best exercises for your body and mind is dancing. Dancing has advantages due to its physical, interpersonal, and mental demands (imagine the effort needed to focus on memorizing steps!). Dancing also increases heart rate, and balance, and elevates the mood, in addition to strengthening numerous muscle groups. Studies have demonstrated that dancing can reduce anxiety and increase happiness through fostering social connections. 

Building a balanced exercise plan

The best fitness regimen is the one that seniors enjoy and are likely to follow regularly. Create a tailored strategy keeping the seniors’ physical capabilities and preferences in mind with the help of a trainer, physical therapist, or occupational therapist. Make it fun and varied. Combine exercise with another aspect of routine, such as standing up and sitting down ten times before you eat dinner. 

Exercise is healthy regardless of age. It’s never too late to start, and gain advantages from endurance and aerobic workouts as well as strength and resistance training. Find a workout that you enjoy and get going! 

Easy Ways for Seniors to Stay Fit | Infographic

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