Many of us dream of relaxing in our golden years, but relaxing shouldn’t mean laying around on the couch all day. In fact, physical fitness becomes even more important as we age.
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), regular exercise can strengthen bones and improve balance, helping seniors to avoid falls. Exercise can also lower your risk of dying from heart disease and help prevent high blood pressure and diabetes. Plus, it gives you more energy to get off the couch and go out and do the things you love.
Remember to always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. And be sure to stop exercising if you feel pain.
If you are ready to get off the couch and start moving, here are six senior-friendly exercises you may want to try.
Walking is a good all-around exercise for which you are never too old. All you need is a pair of sturdy shoes and a route around your neighborhood. Walking is good for your bones, your muscles, your joints, your cardiovascular system, and your mood.
You may think of it as a hobby, but gardening is actually great exercise! The walking, bending, and squatting you do while you’re digging up soil, carrying water, and setting plants in the ground give you a great workout. Not to mention the calories you burn if you mow the yard!
3. Balance Exercises
These simple daily exercises can improve your balance and reduce your risk of falls:
- Balance on one leg, then the other for 10-15 seconds at a time.
- Wall pushups
- Walk heel to toe across the room like you are on a tightrope
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and balance on your tiptoes for some heel raises
Find more about these and other balance exercises at AgingInPlace.org.
4. Weight Training
When you think of weightlifters, you probably think of a muscle-bound man or woman lifting a barbell over their heads. That is not what we’re talking about.
Strength training, whether it’s with light weights or resistance bands, can help slow the muscle loss that comes as we age. Check out this strength training guide from the CDC for advice on how to get started.
Research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health suggests that yoga can be beneficial in reducing stress, helping people sleep better, and relieving lower back and neck pain. In seniors, it can also help increase flexibility.
Seniors who might have trouble bending or getting down on the floor as necessary for traditional yoga poses might want to try chair yoga.
6. Online Exercise Classes
You don’t need a gym membership to join an exercise class.
SilverSneakers and the National Institute on Aging’s Go4Life program offer online exercise classes and other fitness resources geared specifically toward seniors. Certified instructors lead workouts designed for seniors at a variety of ages and fitness levels.
It’s good to keep in mind that the best exercises for you are the ones you enjoy doing. Arbor Terrace of Burnt Hickory in Marietta provides a wide range of activities for all fitness levels so that every resident can find one that suits them.
If you’d like to find out more about all the fitness — and other activities — that Arbor Terrace of Burnt Hickory has to offer, call 770-691-0050 to arrange a tour.