Ideally, the best exercise would be the one you enjoy most in your senior years. After all, exercise takes commitment and consistency so it would be great if you find something you like. Nevertheless, as far as senior exercise goes, you have to find something that helps improve your quality of life.
For this reason, the best fitness plans for the senior years are those that enhance balance, build strength, and increase mobility. The plans must also take into consideration your current state of health. For instance, are your bones strong enough to withstand the impact of jumping and running? Do you have the balance required to comfortably ride a bicycle? Having a Medicare supplement plan to help cover health costs is a good idea, but there are exercises seniors can do to increase their wellbeing. Here’s a look at some.
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It’s not by accident that swimming is often referred to as the world’s most perfect exercise. Whether you are doing the breaststroke or participating in a water aerobics class, the pool is a perfect place for boosting your cardiovascular health and strengthening muscles. It does this while exerting minimal strain on your joints and bones, which is especially important for seniors who are grappling with osteoporosis or arthritis. Swimming also helps keep seniors’ minds sharp.
If you don’t know how to swim, water aerobics classes in the shallower end of the pool will do the trick. If you are already a confident swimmer, then you have a wide range of exercises you can do in the water.
Even if you cannot do anything else, chances are you have the ability to place one foot in front of the other in succession to get to someplace you need to go. Walking is a popular exercise for persons aged 60 and up because it is free and accessible.
The recommended minimum is 10,000 steps a day. One study found that people who took at least 10,000 steps per day had a nearly 50 percent higher chance of surviving the following 10 years than those who remained sedentary.
For persons with chronic conditions, the 10,000 steps per day may not be feasible. Nevertheless, engaging in some walking every day will still have a major impact on their health.
Yoga has a holistic approach to fitness and enhances core stability, muscle strength, total-body mobility, and aerobic fitness. Seniors will find it liberating given its low-impact and the fact that it doesn’t strain your joints.
Nevertheless, it’s a weight-bearing exercise since the postures require you to support your body weight. That strengthens the bones and muscles. If you haven’t done yoga before, it’s best that you enroll for an introductory class to learn the basics. Yoga is versatile and there are exercises you can do when seated. Most importantly, have a talk with your instructor on any physical limitations you may have before you start classes.
Age comes with muscle loss and fat accumulation. When it comes to battling age-related fat and slowing muscle loss, strength training is more efficient than cardiovascular exercise.
Fortunately, strength training doesn’t mean benching a ton of weight. You can start small and gradually increase weights over the years as your health allows you to. In fact, you don’t even need weights at all. Something as simple as a leg stand, chair squat, stair climb, and wall pushup will keep you strong and ready to attack everyday activities.
Your gym likely has numerous resistance bands you can use but these beginner-friendly and inexpensive exercise tools are great for home workouts too. Also, resistance bands allow you to challenge muscles in a way you cannot do with equipment-free training.
For example, whereas improving your posture and strengthening your back are important exercise goals in your senior years, they’re hard to achieve if you don’t have the equipment to do that on hand. A resistance band would be just the thing you need.
Cycling is a low-impact exercise that’s most suitable for seniors that want to increase their leg muscle strength but cannot participate in high-impact sports due to joint or osteoporosis problems. Cycling not only improves muscle strength but also enhances metabolic health, cardiovascular health, and cognitive performance in seniors.
If you are fortunate to have bike trails in your neighborhood, consider planning regular bike rides with family or friends. On the other hand, indoor cycling is an option if there are no trails around or if the outdoor weather conditions aren’t ideal. It’s also the way to go if you are wary about falls.
Group exercise like aerobics isn’t just a nice way to improve your fitness. It’s also plenty of fun and a convenient avenue of making friends. This can only bode well for seniors who, sometimes might find themselves with diminished access to everyday social circles.
In any case, the group provides positive motivation to look forward to each session which in turn works to making fitness a habit. The social aspect increases activity levels in seniors over the long term.
The senior years are fraught with ever-increasing health challenges. By following a fitness plan, you can improve your health and therefore your quality of life.