Exercise for Seniors

Exercise for seniors can seem to be a catch 22. You know it would be good for you but you avoid getting more physically active because…

  • You’re afraid you’ll get hurt if you exercise
  • You have arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes or other medical condition and don’t know which exercises are safe for you to do
  • You wouldn’t feel comfortable at a gym

Sound like you?The truth is you have a lot to gain by getting and staying physically active and a lot to lose if you don’t.

Why Is Exercise For Seniors Such A Big Deal?

Being physically active is the best way to maintain your independence as you age. More than that it adds life to your years by keeping you in condition to do the things you most enjoy.And it helps you manage or prevent diseases and conditions such as…

  • Heart disease (the number one killer of women)
  • Diabetes
  • Breast cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Colon cancer
  • Depression
  • Arthritis
  • Balance problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Fibromyalgia

A lot of which tend to occur more frequently as we age.Exercise for seniors is a way to stay mentally fit as well. Recent studies show exercise helps maintain memory and cognitive function.

Fitness is for women of all ages. Do 10 minutes of activity here and there throughout your day or be active for an hour or more at a time. Engage in sports or exercise in a bed or chair if needed.

No matter what your current condition, you can find safe ways to exercise. Ways that fit your lifestyle, personality and pocket book.

The Best Types Of Exercise For Seniors

There are many ways to increase your daily activity level.

Your can do physical activities such as yard work, taking the stairs, walking the dog or parking further away from your destination. Or develop a structured exercise program to get moving.

Find what you enjoy, make it a regular habit and gradually increase the amount. How much you get out of your program depends on what you put into it.

Do take a balanced approach to becoming more active. Choose activities and exercises that improve you endurance, strength, flexibility and balance because…

With good endurance you can be active for longer periods of time without fatiguing or becoming out of breath. Your energy levels are better and your heart, lungs and circulatory system healthier. For better endurance try…

  • Walking briskly
  • Bike riding (stationary or outdoors)
  • Taking water exercise programs
  • Dancing
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Playing tennis
  • Going hiking
  • Running
  • Doing a senior aerobics class

What you choose depends upon what condition you are in and what you enjoy.Staying strong allows you to do things like carry your groceries or your grandchild, continue to be able to care for your home and go up and down stairs. Even small improvements in your strength can mean big improvements in your quality of life. To improve your strength try…

  • Lifting free weights
  • Using resistive bands or tubes
  • Working out on machines
  • Do push ups or squats using your body weight for resistance
  • Use resistive equipment in the pool
  • Push a vacuum or lawnmower
  • Doing core stabilization exercises

Being flexible gives you freedom of movement so you can continue to bend to tie your shoes, pick up objects from the floor or shoulder check when driving. You’ll be less likely to get injured during exercise and your everyday activities. To become more limber try…

  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Pilates

Having good balance means being able to go up and down stairs, climb on a step stool or walk on uneven ground without falling. Since injury from falls is a common problem older women face, keep your balance up to par by trying…

  • Tai chi
  • Yoga
  • Dancing
  • Using exercise balls
  • Doing a balance program from your physical therapist
  • Doing leg strengthening exercises

Some exercises and activities work on more than one component of fitness. Yoga and gardening are two such examples.

Safe Exercise For Seniors

One of the biggest concerns for older women who want to become more active is the fear of getting injured. To exercise safely you need a well thought out plan…

  • To start take a look at your current activity level by keeping an activity log for at least 4 days.
  • Perform some simple fitness tests to further assess your starting point.
  • Then create a vision in writing of how active you want to be. Keep in mind any physical conditions you have, your fitness test results and the findings of your activity log to make your vision realistic.
  • Set specific goals for yourself. Small steps that move you towards your vision. Review your goals on a regular basis.
  • Make physical activity a habit. Agree to exercise with someone. Write a plan each week. Keep an ongoing exercise log. Work with a personal trainer or wellness coach. Find what works for you. The first 3 to 6 months are usually the most difficult.
  • Reward yourself as you achieve your goals.
  • Review your vision and goals every two weeks or so and update your plan as you progress.

Exercise for seniors can sometimes seem a daunting prospect. It doesn’t need to be. Most older women do not have significant enough health problems to prevent them from doing moderate intensity activities or exercise.Check with your doctor before beginning. Make prevention a part of your regular doctor visits from now on. Take the lead and talk about your exercise and eating habits and how you manage stress.

If you’re already dealing with a chronic condition such as arthritis, osteoporosis or fibromyalgia, get the information you need to exercise safely. The right exercise program can make a world of difference in how you feel and what you’re able to do.

Be sure to see your doctor if you are currently experiencing…

  • Episodes of pain in your chest, neck, jaw or arms
  • Shortness of breath at rest or with mild exertion
  • Dizziness
  • An infection or fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unusual fatigue with your normal activities
  • Swelling in your ankles
  • Cramping in your legs

Or you have already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease or metabolic disease (diabetes, thyroid disorders, renal or liver disease).Exercise for seniors is one of the best ways of continuing to be able to enjoy life. Almost every older woman can do some form of exercise with the right guidance and information. It’s never too late to build a healthier life.

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