Exercise is important at every stage in life. It is essential for cardiovascular fitness, diabetes prevention or management, and maintaining muscle tone and core strength. Working out has proven benefits for not only your physical health but also your mental and emotional well-being.
Regular exercise allows you to sleep better, manage stress, maintain stronger bones, and protect brain health. It also helps promote better balance, which results in fewer falls among older adults.
What types of exercise should you explore if you are a senior?
We have a few suggestions for you to consider and learn more about.
1. Walking. While walking may not seem like a very strenuous fitness activity, it is an excellent form of exercise. It can decrease stress and improve balance and cardiovascular health. And it requires only a pair of sturdy walking shoes to get started. These tips can be helpful as you begin your walking program.
2. Go4Life. If you prefer a more goal-oriented, structured exercise program, consider Go4Life. This free program, created by the National Institute on Aging at NIH, makes it easier to focus on fitness. It offers a variety of fitness resources for seniors, from workout videos to tools for tracking goals and progress.
3. Swimming. Another great form of exercise for older adults is swimming. If your local fitness center offers what is referred to as a warm therapy pool, all the better. It is easy on older joints and may be especially beneficial for those who suffer from osteoarthritis. Swimming also helps you relax and sleep better.
4. Yoga. One of the best things about yoga for seniors is how easy it is to practice from a seated position. Chair yoga helps build strength and endurance, while also protecting balance and mobility. Each of these is essential for avoiding falls.
5. Tai Chi. Tai chi is an exercise that combines slow, graceful movements with breath control. Because it is gentle, it is an excellent option for seniors who are just starting to incorporate exercise into their routine.
6. SilverSneakers. Participating in a fitness class designed for seniors can be less intimidating than exercising on your own, especially when you are first getting started. Many insurance companies offer their clients memberships to local fitness centers through a program known as SilverSneakers. Visit the SilverSneakers website to instantly check your eligibility and learn more.
7. Cycling. One final suggestion to explore is bike riding. It’s a terrific way to enjoy the great outdoors. But for days when it’s rainy or snowing, an alternate solution is an exercise bike. You can likely find a good used one for a reasonable price. Visit Cycling for Seniors for more tips, advice, and rules of the road.
Talk with Your Doctor First
If you’ve been living a fairly sedentary life, we suggest you discuss each of these options with your primary care physician. They can help you set safe, realistic goals for beginning your exercise program.