Finding Fitness as a Senior
Physical fitness is an important piece of the overall wellness puzzle. It can help you keep up your preferred lifestyle for as long as possible. Unfortunately, only 15% of people between 65 and 74 report engaging in regular physical activity.
There are many ways to fit exercise into your life that are safe and beneficial for seniors—best of all, most exercise options can be plenty of fun!
Senior living communities offer wellness amenities and activities to help keep you moving. Take advantage of all your community has to offer and explore exercise options that make you feel fantastic.
The Importance of Exercise
Exercise offers significant benefits to every area of our health. Of course, it keeps your muscles, joints, and cardiovascular system working more smoothly, but did you know exercise improves mental health too? It’s been shown to ward off depression, lift your mood, and increase your energy level.
Exercise offers the perfect route for socialization. Many activities can be done with a friend or a loved one, from walking and dancing to golf and tennis. Exercise is a wonderful way to bond with young family members, too—staying active makes it easier to stay engaged with children while they play.
Exercise can also help prevent falls. Each year 800,000 older adults are admitted to hospitals around the states for injuries related to a fall, often head injuries or hip fractures. Staying limber and strong can help offset the chance of falling.
Regular exercise is often used to manage or prevent chronic conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Exercise Focus for Seniors
Doctors recommend that seniors focus on 4 different types of exercise to keep active and healthy: endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.
Endurance exercises are also called aerobic exercises. They help keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system in good shape. Exercises that target your endurance include:
- Aerobics classes
Strength training targets your muscles. Strong muscles make mobility easier and help prevent falls. To build strength, work on activities like:
- Resistance band training
- Lifting weights
- Bodyweight exercises like wall push-ups
Flexibility helps prevent your body from growing stiff and sore. Staying limber helps with everyday activities, like dressing, tying your shoes, and tidying your home. To keep flexible, incorporate stretches that target areas of the body, including:
Balance is another critical fitness area for seniors. It helps prevent falls and stabilize your body as you go about your day. To improve balance, try things like:
- Tai chi
- Balancing on one foot
- Walking along a line on the ground
Exercises to Try Out
Aqua fitness, from swimming to aquacise, is a fantastic option for seniors. Being in the water alleviates stress from your joints, making exercises gentler but still effective!
The Lodge at Truitt Homestead’s location in coastal Delaware offers quick access to the ocean. But if you don’t feel like leaving your home, we have a pool right on campus.
Tai Chi and qi gong are centuries-old Chinese meditative movement practices. Many find this practice beneficial to their sense of balance, as well as helping with focus and mood.
Resistance bands are stretchy rubber bands that are used for exercise. It helps add resistance to bodyweight exercises, adding a challenge. Resistance bands are lightweight and affordable, making them an accessible and easy fitness equipment option.
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that focuses on the spiritual and physical. Lots of yoga practiced in the states has a focus on flexibility and strength. Many older adults looking to begin a new fitness routine try chair yoga, which allows for a safe flexibility practice.
Music and good company are great ingredients for a fun way to stay active. Dancing offers cardiovascular benefits and is a fun activity to do with friends and loved ones. Take a dance class and try out a new style, from ballroom to Zumba.
If you haven’t been active in a long time or are trying out a brand new activity, it’s best to take it easy to start. Many exercises and activities can be modified to match your fitness and ability level. If you ever have concerns, talk to your doctor or on-site care staff for guidance.
At Truitt Homestead, we’ve partnered with Bebee Healthcare to offer a top-notch health suite to provide rehabilitation services and health and wellness education to our community members. Take advantage of the expertise of fitness professionals to make your exercise regimen safe and effective.
Enjoy Your Exercise
Remember, at the end of the day, the best type of exercise is an exercise that you enjoy and can commit to. Find something you love that helps keep your body active and promotes a healthy lifestyle.