Why regular exercise is important for seniors
As people age, exercise becomes even more important. Lack of physical activity leads to muscle loss, loss of endurance, and even affects bone density.
When we allow our bodies to weaken, we put ourselves at greater risk for falling, developing bone fractures, chronic pain, and so much more. Staying active could mean the difference between enjoying your retirement and suffering with pain.
Exercise doesn’t have to be a strenuous activity. You can get many health benefits from simply walking. Of course, the longer and harder you exercise, the more health benefits you can achieve. However, you will want to work up to more intense workouts rather than coming out of the gate full force.
Health Benefits of Regular Exercise
When we’re younger, most of us exercise to stay lean and fit. However, in our older years, exercise is much more important. We need exercise to be able to live on our own in our own home. If you start to neglect regular exercise too often, you could end up losing your ability to care for yourself.
Regular exercise can have major effects on a senior’s life. By having an exercise routine, seniors can maintain their weight, which in turn can protect them from developing health conditions like diabetes. Regular exercise can also be a therapy to pain relief caused by arthritis. This is because exercise can alleviate joint swelling therefore reducing pain.
When you exercise in older age, your main goal should be maintaining your stamina and balance. Doing this will lower your risk of falling. This ultimately can be what allows you to continue to live at home. You can maintain your stamina and balance by doing simple exercises a few times a week.
Simple Exercises for Seniors
As we mentioned, the exercise doesn’t have to be intense to achieve your goals. As long as you maintain a regular exercise schedule and only do what your body can handle, you’ll be in good shape, literally.
Before starting any new exercises, be sure to consult with your primary care physician.
One minor exercise you can start with is walking around your neighborhood for about ten to twenty minutes. Once you have successfully completed this exercise a few times, you can try increasing the time. Bring a water bottle with you so you stay well hydrated.
Another exercise you can try that will work on both your stamina and balance is walking up stairs. Because the risk of falling during this exercise is higher, be sure to try this with a workout partner first. When first trying this exercise, only walk a few flights of stairs. Don’t go until you can’t go anymore. Stop while you still feel like you can walk more.
An all-time favorite exercise among seniors is swimming. Water aerobics and swimming laps will build up your stamina very quickly. Water exercises can even help grow muscle, which is a plus. You’ll find that most local community centers offer water aerobics classes.
According to the CDC, one of the most popular exercises among seniors is gardening and other yard work activities. Although not many think of gardening as an exercise, it truly is, especially for older adults.
Again, always talk to your primary care physician before starting a new exercise program. An annual physical with your doctor can help you learn what your body can and can’t handle. Also, working out with a partner is a great practice. It helps keep you both safe.