There comes a time in our lives where our bodies start to lose their youthful stamina. It almost goes without saying that, past the age of 65, a person’s health and mobility may begin to falter. Thankfully, seniors have grown tremendously fitness-conscious in recent years. Concerned over their wellbeing and quality of life, they’ll often be seen jogging, working out at the gym, or partaking in various athletic activities. This article will explore 7 of the best exercises for elders who want to stay fit, active, and healthy.
Walking is an activity we don’t ponder over much. That said, it’s a superb exercise for seniors to stay in shape. It engages several muscles, keeps the heart rate up, and burns plenty of calories. Compared to regular jogging or running, brisk walking puts less pressure on the knees and ankles; this is especially beneficial for those who suffer from weak joints or osteoporosis. This aerobics exercise also improves leg mobility and swivel, strengthens the hips, and encourages good posture for maximum benefits.
Originated in China, Tai Chi is a low-intensity martial art centered on enhancing a person’s balance, muscle coordination, and flexibility. The sport has been growing tremendously in popularity all over the world, in aged care homes from Australia all the way to California. Usually performed in groups, regular Tai Chi practice has been shown to significantly affect physical and mental well-being, particularly for senior care facilities. As one of the more mindful activities on this list, it’s a well-rounded choice for those who seek relaxation while enjoying a solid workout.
In a similar vein, yoga is a millennial practice that involves stretching, muscle-building, and complete mindfulness. Its benefits are beyond debate and include better balance and flexibility, leaner muscles, a soothed mind, and more. Yoga is also typically practiced in groups to foster a sense of togetherness and mental peace. Chair yoga, a variant practiced while sitting on a chair, is also a convenient alternative for elders with very limited mobility that’s proving more and more popular worldwide.
An aerobic workout (commonly known as “cardio”) is all about getting the heart pumping. It promotes body oxygenation, which helps with proper blood flow, cellular renewal, better endurance and lung capacity, enhanced mood, etc. The king of all cardio has to be swimming. While it isn’t a senior activity per se, swimming and water aerobics are well-suited for elders. The water places less stress on the joints and has its own resistance, helping develop strength, mobility, and flexibility. People with arthritis can notably reap tremendous benefits from aqua jogging.
Another great way to stay in shape as we age is to invest in a bike or visit a gym to hop on a stationary bike every once in a while. Similar to swimming, cycling is an aerobic exercise that doesn’t put the joints under pressure, therefore minimizing the risk of injury and severe aches. It’s also an ideal activity for elders trying to lose weight; did you know that one hour of cycling can burn between 400 and 700 calories? Paired with balanced nutrition, a diet will prove easier than ever!
Lifting arm weights not only helps develop the various muscles in that area, but it also works to strengthen the shoulders, upper back, and chest. The result is better upper body strength and improved posture. Whether it’s done with actual weights or plastic bottles filled with sand, the technique is straightforward and can be done anywhere. It involves lifting the weight to the shoulder and all the way back down in a standing or sitting position. Alternate with each arm, and challenge yourself with heavier loads.
Body Weight Workouts
Lastly, muscle atrophy (the loss of muscle mass) is a prevalent health issue for nearly one in three adults. One of the surest ways to counteract its damaging effects is by engaging in bodyweight workouts. It’s perhaps one of the most affordable activities on this list, as it requires very little equipment (usually a workout outfit and a floor mat). Squats, step-ups, bird dogs, or side-lying circles have all proven their benefit for elders’ health.
There is no shortage of activities for seniors to stay in shape during and enjoy their silver years in good health. The key lies in selecting suitable activities that cater to specific needs and goals (improving balance, strength, endurance, etc.), starting easy, and practicing a wide range of workouts. So, whether you’re in a dedicated care facility or still live at home, the world of fitness awaits!