Physical activity and exercise is important for seniors to partake in to stay healthy, energetic and independent. As you get older, these three things are important for maintaining an active lifestyle. On average, many adults aged 65 and over spend 10 or more hours every day sitting or lying down . This makes the 65 and overs the most inactive age group.
Why should the elderly exercise?
An elderly person should exercise because there are huge health risks in a sedentary lifestyle. There are higher rates of falls, obesity, heart disease and early death at this age compared to the rest of the general population. Keeping active also allows a senior citizen to retain their independence as well as staying healthy. If you do not stay active, everything you enjoy doing on a daily basis can suddenly become more difficult. Simple pleasures such as walking to the shops or visiting friends can become a real struggle. As you start to lack energy, you might start to get aches and pains that you never had before.
Less active seniors are also susceptible to type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, depression and dementia. Exercise can help with dementia , as it protects against the onset of the disease as well as slowing down the progression of the condition. Various studies have shown that what is good for the heart is also incredibly beneficial for the brain. This is why exercise has been recommended by experts of Dementia Care .
Some seniors think that exercise is all about going to the gym, but this is not the case. There are numerous activities that the elderly can partake in to keep active and fit. Most importantly, they are also fun.
One of the best ways to improve balance is to take up dancing. A couple of waltzes a week can help in the prevention of dangerous injuries and falls. For older adults, dancing has great cardiovascular benefits which improves coordination as well as balance. It is also fantastic for social companionship as you can meet up with friends and even make new ones.
If you are looking for a form of exercise that has more of a low impact on the body, there are classes you can take. Participating in Tai Chi or Yoga helps improve strength, balance and coordination. It’s also great for reducing any stress you might have. Yoga poses can also be modified for each individual. Some seniors may have less upper or lower body strength, which can make you less flexible. Overall, yoga can help you achieve a better quality of life.
Another fun, low impact exercise is swimming. Swimming is known as one of the healthiest sports a person can do. You might enjoy completing a few laps around the pool but you don’t have to. You can keep fit by attending aqua jogging or water aerobics classes. The latter has been shown to improve the composition of your body as well as reduce any pains in the lower back.
A popular game amongst seniors, golf is the perfect activity for those who want to enjoy the outdoors in a fun way. Golf is also a great way for building endurance, which will make completing everyday tasks easier in the future.
A different but still great way of keeping active is by volunteering and attending local events. These opportunities are the perfect way to get out of the house and keep you on your feet. You can meet new people as well as being able to discover new things for you to do.
Gardening is the closest activity to home that is great for staying active and fit. Getting stuck into your garden is great for the joints. Although, some gardening can be too physically intense. If you struggle to bend, then you could create a garden of raised pots and containers on a patio. You could even have fun growing your own produce to put into a healthy meal.
Inventive Home Exercise
Weight training doesn’t have to involve going to a gym and lifting weights. Looking to your kitchen can be a great source of weight training. You could use canned vegetables or a heavy milk container as your weights. Use these in bicep curls, tricep kickbacks and even overhead pushes to work the shoulder muscles. If using groceries as weights isn’t your thing, you could also use your furniture to workout. Just sitting in a chair and extending your lower legs out and up is great exercise for the lower body.
Ride a Bike
The best way to get outdoors and stay active and fit is by cycling. Enjoying that fresh air on a bike is superb for the cardiovascular system. It also helps improve your balance and is a great activity for your leg muscles.
Spend time with the Grandchildren
Any grandparent knows that grandchildren love to give their Nan or Grandad the runaround. Chasing the grandkids around the house is arguably the most fun you can have while getting that all important exercise. To be able to spend quality time with loved ones and it also benefit your long-term health is amazing feeling.
Studies have shown that partaking in lawn bowls can improve your health . Fitness wise, it helps improve muscle strength in the arms, shoulders and the legs. It can also be incredibly beneficial in increasing mental skills. This includes coordination and concentration. The self-esteem lifts and social aspects will keep you going back again and again.
Home entertainment has evolved in recent years to even be beneficial for your health. Nintendo’s incredible popular console Wii contained the popular Wii Fit games. With a Wii Fit Board peripheral as part of the package, you can be active in your own living room. There are a number of games including bowling, tennis, skiing and yoga to enjoy. Wii Fit is also able to track your weight as well as your general fitness. The feedback on your progress dictates the next exercises you will complete during your next session.
These are just some of the fun activities you can do to keep fit and active as a senior. As you get involved in these, you will connect with others who can even suggest some other activities you could attend. With such huge benefits in keeping you healthy, it’s now time to start your fitness journey.
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