Please note: Before beginning any type of exercise it is recommended that you consult with a doctor.
Exercise offers many health benefits, however it is important to know your body and its limits. The benefits of exercising as a senior include improved pulmonary function, cardiovascular strength, reflexes, and balance to name just a few. When you begin a regular workout routine it’s important to start slow and find a routine that works for your body to best maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you’ve never been extremely active the best time to start is now, especially seniors over the age of 65.
Misconceived ideas about exercising as a senior include the belief that ‘it’s too late now for any work to count’ and ‘the risk of getting injured while exercising.’ These ideas are false because it is never too late to start working out! As you progress in your training, you will become more aware of your body and it will begin to feel better to you. Exercise will not be a threat to you if you know your body limits, and your limits will change once you begin exercising more often as you build strength and endurance.
In this blog, we’ll highlight effective exercise methods that will help you get started and create a routine:
Take a brisk walk, swim, or bike for as long as the body allows and try to do this three times a week. If you’re ready for the next level of aerobic exercise you can incorporate hiking and stair climbing into your routine. This type of exercise will help lower blood pressure, improve joint movement, and increase energy levels.
Yoga is a beneficial low impact work out that will increase flexibility and help improve balance. Find a class that meets your skill level and has a difficulty level that you can maintain throughout the week and won’t be too strenuous to continue. Strengthening your core is one of the benefits of a low-impact exercise which will improve balance and help reduce the risk of falling.
Resistance bands are easy to carry with you during travel and can be set up anywhere. If you don’t have much time for a workout, get your resistance bands out and do reps with each arm. Building up a resistance in your arms and core will help build muscle and a strong core, again helpful for overall balance.
Resistance training is the step before weight training, if you feel that using weights is too strenuous for you then start with a resistance band. You will be proud of your progress once you move from resistance bands to weights.
If you have access to weights, find a light weight, or small object, no more than 5 pounds and do repetitive sets of bicep curls and over the shoulder presses. Incorporate high rep, low weight workouts into your routine. This will help build strength in your upper body and improve blood flow. Weight training provides muscle growth and prevents the loss of bone mass.
Don’t allow the myth that exercise is too strenuous or dangerous for seniors to keep you from finding a routine. Studies show that seniors who participate in little to no activity are more likely to have health and body issues, including heart and bone problems. It’s important to get up and exercise on a consistent basis. Be mindful of your body and assess your strengths as you improve to help gain the most out of your exercise routines. Maintaining an active lifestyle helps maintain a healthy and happy body.