There are four major types of exercise and reasons for seniors to do all of them.
Endurance activities such as walking and swimming, strength exercises to build muscles, exercises that will help with your balance and prevent falls and flexibility exercises that will keep you limber. Keeping in shape also builds bone strength which makes it less likely that you will break a hip or other bone if you do fall.
Exercise at any age will increase strength and energy but it is especially important once you are a senior. You will feel a difference in your outlook on life and your attitude. Exercise doesn’t need to be boring. It can be fun. Senior centres have a variety of activities that will keep you in shape such as dance, yoga or tai chi classes. All will help you to become more flexible and increase your energy. They will improve your strength so you can be independent longer and improve your balance. All exercise helps prevent diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease.
By not exercising, you are risking a variety of health issues including high blood pressure and even difficulty walking. You can increase your daily physical activity at home by gardening, climbing stairs and working around the house. Look for ways to move more during your daily routine and have fun.
How to Stay Safe While Exercising
Talk to your doctor about some ideas on what kind of exercise is best for you and make sure you choose something you enjoy.
Always use the proper equipment. Examples would be a helmet if you ride a bike or proper shoes for walking.
Start slowly, especially if you aren’t used to being active. Don’t overdo it.
Keep hydrated. As we age, we become less aware of when we are thirsty. Dehydration can lead to confusion for some seniors.
Warm up before starting any exercises.
Many seniors are confined to a wheelchair. This doesn’t mean you can’t exercise, it just means it has to be done in a different manner and it is more practical to do some exercises rather than others. A manual wheelchair helps with upper body strength as it must be propelled by the person using it.
Many strength training exercises can be done from a seated position. Upper body stretching for flexibility is easily performed in a wheelchair. Lower body exercises can be more difficult and it may be better to do them in a bed.
Muscles become tight as we become seniors and keeping ourselves limber is the best thing we can do to help keep ourselves healthy and in shape. And you will feel better!
By living well, we will age well and doing some seniors exercises will help you with both!