Best Senior Exercises to Boost Your Body
Many people think that when we get to our golden years, all we’re capable of doing is staying out in our porch, sitting in rocking chairs all day. Women are expected to be knitting or cooking, while older men are expected to tell tall tales to their eager grandchildren. However, contrary to that belief, it would be best to perform senior exercises.
Physical activities or exercise is great for everyone. Yes, even for seniors. It improves overall health and increases longevity. And for older adults, it has positive effects on their vitality and overall well-being. It prevents chronic disease, lowers chances of injury, and improves one’s mood. In fact, many medical conditions are improved with regular exercise. Some of these include heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, colon cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
In addition, exercise makes you look and even feel younger than you really are.
Now we’re not saying that senior adults should go and hit the gym every single day, or go join a triathlon right away. Senior exercises should start small, then slowly build up over time and experience.
Before doing any kind of exercise or physical activity, it’s always a good idea to start with proper stretching. When you stretch, your muscle fibers are pulled out to their full length. Next, the connective tissues take a turn and pick up the remaining slack. This helps realign any disorganized fibers in the direction of the tension.
Stretching also improves your flexibility. As we all get older, our connective tissues change, and this creates adhesions. We then lose some of our smooth cartilage in our joints. This causes osteoarthritis. This then leads to pain and stiffness.
Stretching can help ease these issues and also improve our functional motions. It can also help with a host of other issues. Stretching improves blood circulation. Also, it reduces symptoms of certain diseases. It helps seniors with arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. And finally, it gives you an overall feeling of well-being.
In addition, stretching is an excellent way to relax and relieve tension. It also improves your posture.
You can try senior yoga or Pilates to know more about the correct way of stretching out your muscles.
Aerobics or Endurance
Aerobics are vigorous exercises that strengthen the heart and the lungs. This improves the body’s utilization of oxygen. Doing aerobic activities can help older adults burn off calories, increase energy levels, improve heart health, maintain joint movement, and also lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Even 5-minute aerobic workouts a few days a week is beneficial. If you are over the age of 60, the aerobic routines you follow should be both safe yet strenuous enough to increase your heart rate in a healthy manner. There should be a boost of about 50-70 percent of your maximum heart rate.
According to the American Heart Association, for senior adults aged 60 to 65, the maximum heart rate is about 160 beats per minute. For seniors aged 65 to 70, it’s at 155 beats. And for those over 70, it is 150 beats per minute.
Some examples of great aerobic senior exercises are brisk walking, jogging, tennis, cycling, dancing, and swimming.
As we get older, our sense of balance declines. As many as 28-45 percent of senior adults fall each year because of this. And we know how frightening it is whenever we lose our balance.
Senior exercises for balance minimizes the risk of falls. Falling down results in serious complications for senior adults, so it’s best to avoid that. These exercises also improves posture, stability, and body mechanics. They can also help you maintain your independence.
What’s great about balance exercises is they can be done in the comforts of your own home. One easy exercise to try out first is the heel-to-toe walk. First, you have to stand upright, shoulders back, eyes looking straight ahead. Next, place your right heel on the floor directly in front of your left toe. Go ahead and do the same with your left heel. Do this alternately while going on a straight line. Don’t forget to keep looking forward, and don’t look down.
The purpose of strength exercises is it makes your muscles stronger. They also strengthen bones, build muscles, improve muscle tone, and boost metabolism. Not only that, senior strength training counteracts the weakness and frailty that comes with aging.
Metabolism slows as a person ages. However, strength senior exercises can counteract that. They can also help with losing extra weight. Strong bones prevent osteoporosis and bone loss. And finally, stronger muscles can help you do simple everyday tasks, like lifting groceries and doing housework.
Here are some simple and easy strength exercises to start with:
- Arm raises to strengthen shoulder muscles.
- Chair stands to strengthen stomach and thigh muscles.
- Bicep curls to strengthen the upper arms.
- Tricep extensions to strengthen the muscles in the back of the arm.
- Knee flexions to strengthen muscles found in the back of the thigh.
- Leg raises work on the abdominal and hip flexor muscles.
- Curl-ups strengthen the core (abdominal) muscles.
- Lunges strengthen the quadriceps and hips.
Ideally, you should start things slow. Use light weights first and do only around 2 days a week of exercise. You can gradually go for heavier weights and put in more days for doing strength exercises.
Considerations in Senior Exercises
Before you start any kind of exercise, make sure to consult with your primary care physician first. They would have to evaluate you and your body if you’re capable to do any kind of physical activity.
Next, confer with professional instructors who can determine the specific programs and senior exercises best suited for you.
Once you have an exercise program, be sure to start slow. Always have someone with you as you perform these exercises. You never know when accidents can happen. You can gradually build up to more repetitions and even more challenging exercises once you get the hang of your routine.
And of course, always remember that water is your best friend. Make sure to always have a water bottle handy and keep yourself hydrated at all times.
If ever you develop symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath or dizziness, or if you fall or injure yourself while exercising, stop exercising immediately. Make sure to contact your health practitioner on the next course of action.