Creating a Winning Senior Exercise Routine
We all know that getting enough physical activity is a critical component of healthy aging. However, if you don’t know the best techniques for exercising as a senior, we can help.
Check out some of the many benefits of meeting your CDC-recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week and techniques to make it safe, simple and fun.
Regular physical activity is essential and provides benefits to our bodies, but the benefits of exercise are more notable with older adults. Here are just a few of the ways that exercising later in life can enhance your overall health, help you stay active, and prevent chronic conditions.
Seniors who exercise regularly are more likely to remain independent longer. Various studies show regular exercise helps older adults maintain the ability to walk, dress, bathe, cook and perform other activities of daily living independently longer.
Falling is a significant hazard for older adults. It’s estimated that a senior is admitted to the emergency room for a fall-related injury every 11 seconds. Falls generally result in health issues, meaning that avoiding falls is essential for healthy aging. Regular exercise helps improve seniors’ muscle mass, strength and balancing ability.
Even though you may feel worn out after a good workout, exercise actually boosts your energy. Any form of movement or physical exertion releases endorphins, boosts metabolism, promotes healthy sleep, reduces pain, and increases one’s sense of well-being.
Seniors are more prone to diabetes, heart disease, depression and hypertension. Fortunately, a more active lifestyle is one of the best ways to help prevent or manage these conditions.
A healthy body can, indeed, mean a healthier mind. Seniors who exercise regularly have better cognitive health and a lower risk of developing dementia.
When building an exercise program, it’s a good rule of thumb to stick to the recommended 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week strategy while focusing on strength training, flexibility, and balance. Depending on your fitness level and doctor’s opinion, see below for some excellent exercise options for you.
Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a place to walk, and you’re ready to get going. Whether you stroll around the block or do a more challenging hike on a favorite trail, walking is an excellent exercise to help improve your health in every way. A 30-minute walk will get you well on your way to a healthy lifestyle.
Water aerobics is a popular form of exercise for older adults – and for good reasons. Exercising while in the water is perfect for individuals who have joint pain or difficulty moving around since water buoyancy lessens the impact on joints. Water also has a natural resistance, which provides strength training without using weights.
Because being in the water is more forgiving than being in the open air, it’s a great way to improve flexibility, balance and strength without stressing your body or worrying about falling.
A sample 30-minute water aerobics routine:
- Aqua jogging (5 minutes)
- Flutter kicking (5 minutes)
- Leg lifts (5 minutes)
- Standing water pushups (5 minutes)
- Arm curls (5 minutes)
- Aqua jogging/cooldown (5 minutes)
Yoga is a great low-impact exercise, and chair yoga is even more gentle. Yoga focuses on flexibility, balance and muscle strength in a calm, controlled environment. As an added health benefit, chair yoga has been shown to help reduce the risk of mental health problems, including stress, anxiety and depression, in older adults.
Try this 30-minute chair yoga routine:
- Neck rolls (2 minutes)
- Side stretches (3 minutes)
- Cat/Cow (2 minutes)
- Half sun salutations (3 minutes)
- Forward folds (2 minutes)
- Ankle rolls (3 minutes)
- Warrior sequence (One and Two) – (10 minutes)
- Savasana (5 minutes)
These stretchy strips of rubber are an excellent way to add resistance without increased stress. They’re also good for strengthening your core and can be used to increase mobility and balance.
Add these exercises to your 30-minute aerobic activity routine:
- Lateral raise
- Triceps overhead press
- Leg press
- Band pull-apart
- Bicep curl
Muscle loss can lead to a slew of health issues, such as hormone problems, difficulty walking, and more. Bodyweight workouts use the body’s weight to help strength train naturally and easily – no fancy equipment necessary.
Here are some exercises that use body weight to help safely build muscle and endurance:
- Squats to chair (Squatting over a chair and then lifting to standing)
- Lying hip bridges
- Side-lying circles
Remember, before starting any exercise routine, be sure to consult with your physician.
Waterstone of Westchester provides a lifestyle where overall wellness and healthy aging are always within reach. Our team of professional trainers lead a variety of fitness classes and wellness programs that help our residents reach their goals.
Learn more about our lifestyle and schedule a tour to see what your future holds today.