Remaining active in later years of life is an important goal for many seniors. Daily exercise will keep you feeling energized, fresh, and youthful. Studies have shown the positive connection between exercise and brain health. For this reason in many senior care homes, exercise is an important regimen that can lessen the progression of immobility as well as symptoms from diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
However, as seniors age, many find themselves unable to keep up with strenuous exercise activities. Because of the increased chances of injury, seniors should be cautious when engaging in physical exercise. As the body ages, one will need to be conscious of its limitations and weaknesses. There are several adjustments and changes you can take to appropriate the exercises for a senior. Here are several activities that focus on building endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility for seniors:
Exercising in a pool is one way to get the most out of your workout time while going easy on the joints. Many seniors have aches and pains from arthritis, making exercise a painful and uncomfortable routine. However there are exercises such as water aerobics, which are a low-impact activity since it takes place in a pool. The water will lessen any heavy pressure placed on the joints, offering relief for the body. Other water activities include aqua zumba, aqua jogging, and weight-lifting. Some classes offer exercises in warm water, which can be beneficial since it relaxes muscles and stiff joints. To find classes for water exercises, join a local gym or fitness center, which should offer a variety of classes for seniors.
Another activity that is beneficial for seniors is Tai Chi. This Chinese practice promotes overall wellness by embracing an active mind, body, and spirit. Tai Chi is an activity that combines the discipline of a focused mind with physical movement. The exercise is known for its slow-gentle movements, and focuses on breath and balance. Tai Chi is a helpful discipline in increasing mindfulness as well as decreasing anxiety. Participants can expect to flow through a series a postures and movements while practicing deep breathing exercises. For this reason, seniors can highly benefit from this combination of mental and physical exercise. Recent studies from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that Tai Chi is an effective practice that can reduce the risk of falls and injury-related falls since the exercise increases balance, flexibility, and strength.
For seniors struggling with mobility, chair yoga is a good exercise to try. As the name implies, chair yoga is different from regular yoga since it utilizes a chair as a means of support and stability. Seniors who have trouble standing or struggle with balance and bending forwards will need the chair for support. By incorporating a chair into a yoga routine, seniors can feel more comfortable doing stretches that are more challenging and strenuous. In each yoga position, the body can feel more relaxed. Yoga stretches help with joint pain, back pain, arthritis, and stiffness. Yoga also improves with breathing, balance, and flexibility. Chair yoga is often offered for seniors at fitness and gym centers. You can also find resources online that will walk you through the chair poses.
One of the best ways to improve endurance is by speed walking. Taking a brisk walk every day for at least 20 minutes can greatly improve your stamina and energy. As you gradually build up strength, you can increase your time to 30 minutes every other day. Speed walking is also encouraged if you are using a pedometer and counting your daily steps. The recommended number of daily steps for a senior is around 6,000-8,000 steps, which is equivalent to around 3-4 miles. When speed walking, seniors should be mindful of the types of shoes they wear. Some shoe brands have created shoe lines specifically for walking. These shoes can be weighted, cushioned, slip-resistant, and designed for comfort. Be sure to visit your local shoe store to see what types of shoes are available.
Another form of exercise that is beneficial to seniors is strength or weight training. This form of activity can involve the use of light weights (starting with 3 pounds) or even body weight (if you are doing bodyweight training exercises). Strength training exercises such as squats, biceps curls, and dumbbell rows can reduce joint pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, and back pain. To further reduce joint pain, you can even do weight training in a pool. The water will reduce join pressure while creating enough resistance to build up your muscle strength. Seniors should be cautious not to overexert themselves with heavier weights. Start light and then build up your strength by increasing your weights a pound or two at a time.
In any case, caring for one’s health is an important goal for every senior. Remain active and grow your strength by finding activities you enjoy doing. Find friends and neighbors who are willing to exercise with you and it won’t seem like a chore!
Senior Care Center is here to help you and your senior loved ones find the best home! If you or your loved one is an active senior or a senior growing in an active lifestyle, let us help you find the best facility that can accommodate your health goals. We’ll help you discover the best places that offer fitness programs so you can have a healthy and thriving lifestyle! To find out which places will be perfect for your health journey, call one of our advisors today at (866) 518-0936!