Exercise Ideas For Seniors

Staying active is essential to prolonging your golden years and living a healthy lifestyle. For seniors, consistent, not strenuous, activity is what’s important. Exercise slows the aging process, stimulates the brain, and keeps the immune system strong. Many retirement communities are getting better about accommodating the needs of seniors who are less capable through various group exercise classes. Here are some of the activities those in retirement homes can do either in the facilities or on their own to stay sharp and healthy:

Walking/Jogging

Every retirement home I can think of has some designated area where seniors can go for a walk, some even have jogging paths. Make it a point to walk or jog for at least 30 minutes a day. This along with hydration and stretching will go a long way to keeping your joints functional and arthritis at bay.

Yoga

Yoga is slowly becoming the group exercise of choice in retirement communities. It incorporates stretching, breathing exercises, and even if there is not a class available you can still do yoga poses on your own. Seniors should focus more on Hatha yoga which involves more stretching and breathing for stress relief. This form of yoga is also one of the least taxing on your joints and can be suitable for those who are disabled or less fit.

seniors poolside

Swimming

If there is not a pool in your retirement community, I strongly urge you to find one you can visit regularly. I believe there is no better exercise for seniors than swimming. It works just about every muscle you could think to use in the body in an environment that actually makes the workload less taxing on your joints. Many seniors walk in the shallow end of a pool and using swimming as a means of rehabilitation for serious injuries. The water provides just a noticeable amount of resistance in everything you do. It also happens to be the number 1 exercise to maintaining a healthy heart.

 

Exercise can stimulate the body and help it remain properly conditioned to keep you on your feet for years but there are two other keys to remaining active that don’t even involve being active at all, nutrition and rest.

Getting Proper Rest

Nothing can demotivate someone to be active like pushing yourself too hard, too often. You are not training for the Olympics, listen to your body and rest when you need to rest. Don’t feel lazy or inadequate because you feel winded rather quickly at first. With consistent activity your body will condition itself to kick into high gear after a certain point. Always remember to stretch after a workout and get the proper amount of sleep that night. One of the good things about being older is having the ability to fall into a deeper level of sleep much quicker. Because seniors sleep so well when they do, they require only about 6 or 7 hours of sleep a night. However, more is always better if you are consistently active so be sure get every minute you can.

Nutrition

Other than a debilitating disease, the only thing that slows a person down quicker than inactivity is a poor diet. Make a healthy, balanced diet part of your lifestyle. Aim to get a least 25 g of fiber a day if you’re a woman, 30 for a man. Avoid unhealthy foods with lots of saturated fat like potato chips, sweets, and fried foods. With a consistent intake of fiber, avoiding junk food, and consistent hydration you will be able to flush out your system often enough to keep your body flowing smoothly.

 

Remember, the most important aspect to staying active is consistency not intensity. The right type of activity for you is the one you feel you can adequately do on a regular basis. Always try and pick an activity that makes you fun. Maybe golf is your activity of choice. That happens to also be a game requires lots of walking. Another thing you can do is have a friend join you in your activity. You can both be there to motivate each other and help in case of an emergency. Many people think being fit is the key to living long and healthy. Change your mind set to the key of being active and you will live as long and happy as anyone.

 


Guest Post by Cheryl Swanson

Cheryl Swanson is a passionate health writer and former caregiver who loves helping people of all ages and abilities stay active. She writes for Just Walkers, a leading supplier of rollators and other walking aids.

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