According to the World Health Organization, we should all strive for at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every single week. And, in our last blog series, we went over 10 of the biggest benefits of exercising for seniors. But, knowing that exercising can help you live longer and stay healthier will only get you so far. You also have to know how to get that exercise, which can be easier said than done when you aren’t quite as strong or as steady on your feet as you once were. But, luckily, you don’t have to be a bodybuilder in order to enjoy the benefit of physical activity. In fact, there are lots of different types of exercise that seniors can engage in!
As we mentioned, there’s no reason to think that, just because you may never join a bodybuilding competition, you can’t get fit. You can get fit, and you’d be surprised at how far walking will take you in that journey. Taking a brisk walk for just 30 minutes or so every day could help you keep your weight in check, prevent a number of health concerns — including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure — build strength in your muscles and bones, improve your balance and brighten your mood. And, the faster you walk, as well as the farther and the more frequently, the more benefits you’ll enjoy!
If there is a pool accessible near you, consider using it to stay active! Swimming is one of the best workouts for seniors because it’s a total body workout that is much easier on the joints than more intense exercises, like running or walking. Swimming will help to increase your flexibility, boost your heart health, improve your mental health and strengthen your muscles and bones. Even if you don’t like to swim, there are other ways to get fit in the water, like water aerobics.
Exercising is more than just about your cardiovascular health, which means that seniors need to find a strength training option that works for them. Many older adults aren’t thrilled about the idea of lifting weights, and that’s okay! The truth is that there are lots of ways to build strength and muscle, and weight lifting is just one of them. There are plenty of bodyweight exercises that can help you to build muscle, including wall push ups, chair squats, stair climbing and single-leg stands.
If you’re looking for an exercise that will provide you with incredible benefits for only about a half an hour a day, Tai Chi is a great choice. Tai Chi is low impact enough to be easy on your joints and bones, but it comes with big benefits, including a reduction in blood pressure, improved balance, increased strength and faster recovery from heart attacks and strokes. But, the benefits of Tai Chi go beyond the physical; Tai Chi also helps to reduce stress, promotes deep, mindful breathing, increases energy and promotes mental health.
There’s no reason to think that you have to become the Hulk in order to enjoy benefits of exercising as you age, and you can learn about many more senior-friendly types of exercises when you stay tuned for our next blog. But remember, before you start any exercise routine, it’s important to talk to your doctor.
One of the best ways to increase your activity level is to choose the right senior care options. Many assisted living facilities and retirement communities offer activities to keep seniors physically active, as do many adult day health care programs. Let us help you find the right senior care option! Contact us today!