Senior Fitness: How To Keep Your Body Young With The Right Exercise

Senior Woman Lifting WeightsIt seems like every day we hear from health experts telling us what we need to do in order to improve our lives. If only we could pick a healthy program and stick with it! Unfortunately, the advice given by these health experts often does not take into consideration that people are different. For example, the needs of a man in his twenties will certainly be different than those for a man in his eighties. However, it is possible to look at some general guidelines that seniors can follow when they begin any type of exercise program.

Seniors and Exercise Routines

Seniors are likely to find regular exercise more helpful than many other age groups. Gentle exercise is an excellent way to get the body warmed up and loosen stiff joints, this can often help ward off the discomfort of physical problems, such as arthritis, at least temporarily. Additionally, exercise will certainly be an important factor in keeping you active and mobile for as long as possible. Seniors who are dependent on a wheel chair or who have difficulty moving often spend a great deal of time each day, prior to becoming immobile, lying in bed or sitting in a chair. When you spend a lot of time in one position, your muscles will begin to get stiff. However, because of age, these muscles are no longer as supple as they once were and moving can sometimes cause pain, which then encourages seniors to spend more time sitting and less time being active. It is a vicious cycle that can eventually lead to an individual losing their ability to move freely. Therefore, exercise is an important factor in senior mobility.

It is recommended that seniors age 65 and over spend at least twenty minutes exercising, three days a week. However, there is certainly not a set amount that is right for every senior. While some seniors might do good with twenty minutes each day, for many others, twenty minutes over several days or a week might work better. You know what you are capable of better than someone else, so you are probably the one most qualified to pick a suitable exercise plan. Even if you decide that you will not exercise every day, it is still important to try and move around some just so that you can stay mobile. While it might be painful, the effort you put into this movement will certainly be worth it, especially if it allows you to stay mobile for as long as possible. As movement becomes more painful and difficult, too many seniors are letting their freedom and mobility slip past them, they instead choose to stay in bed or simply not move as much as they know they should. This type of thinking is exactly what you should not be doing.

Gentle activities are typically the best type of exercise for most seniors, these movements will not put a great deal of stress on the body and will not jar muscles and bones. Walking and swimming are excellent activities for seniors. They can both be performed without too much energy and are a great way to gently exercise the muscles, but you can still do these exercises using as much intensity as you wish. With this flexibility of being able to add intensity, you can easily tailor your exercise routine to meet your long term goals, as well as your physical limitations or health on that particular day. Walking and swimming will also help you maintain flexibility, endurance, and strength, as well as improve your body’s capability to ward off disability and disease. Of course, it is important for seniors to find an exercise program that suits their own interests and incorporate any type of activity that they find enjoyable. However, it is very important that you are not afraid to exercise. Exercise will not make your physical problems worse, unless, of course, you push yourself beyond your abilities.

The important thing that seniors need to remember when beginning any type of physical activity is that they need to be realistic about their goals. It can be easy to push yourself beyond your abilities if you do not first build up your endurance and stamina; however, you can progress nicely if you take a slow approach. It is not necessary for physical fitness to be accomplished overnight, especially when you have been inactive or immobile for a long time. You need to learn how to walk before you can learn how to run, or so the saying goes.

Senior Fitness: Exercise, Diet and Weight Lifting In Your 60s, 70s and Beyond!

seniorwithweightsHere is an important fact missed many of those who belong to younger generations: Your physical health and fitness are far more important than monetary fitness as you age into your 60s, 70s and beyond.

Staying healthy and fit was likely not a major concern in your younger years, but it is now of the utmost importance. Fortunately, the handicaps, health conditions, and injuries that may be currently present in your life do not have to prevent you from becoming healthier and more mobile, or getting stronger – and possibly even relieving some of the chronic pain you may experience and improving your quality of live overall. This remains true whether you are currently in your 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s – or even if you are a celebrated and revered centenarian!

Exercise in your golden years is in many ways even more important than when you are younger, and the benefits that comes from a regular fitness routine will be greater as well. However, to get the most from your efforts, we have some important tips for you below.

Tip #1: Commit Mentally To Being Fit At Any Age

The first step toward better senior fitness and health is taking a thorough inventory of your attitudes. Do you think that you are too set in your old ways to change, or that “old dogs” cannot learn “new tricks?”  Did you access the Internet frequently during your twenties? When did you last hand write a letter and mail it to a friend? Did you commonly use a cellular telephone during your 30s?

The answers to these questions will probably reveal some obvious small and large changes in your life since your younger days. Your path to better senior health and fitness can likewise begin by taking a series of smaller steps, too. Unless you have medical contraindications, do not rush headlong into anything.  Begin with small lifestyle alterations and allow their combined positive effects to increase as time passes. After all, you do plan to be around for awhile longer, don’t you?

Maybe that is the mindset issue that is holding you back. If you believe you have only one or two decades of life remaining, you could very well be wrong. Genetic research and medical and disease control advances are extending life expectancies every day. Even if, however, you DO have just ten years or less left to live, do you really want to spend them in a state of declining health and constant aches and pains if you do not have to? Resolve right now to have a better, more fit, and healthier life – no matter what its length!

Tip #2: Educate Yourself on the Specific Dietary Needs of Seniors

As we age, our requirements both in terms of caloric needs but also vitamin and mineral needs changes, and modern seniors take advantage of cutting edge science research and reports to inform themselves of the best ways to stay healthy through dietary modifications.

It is quite common for seniors to require relatively few daily calories but a higher level of nutrients than they did in their younger days. Contemporary dietary habits reduce insulin receptor efficiency. As a result, your body most likely also become less efficient at Vitamin B12 absorbency. Increased calcium intake is another common requirement for seniors.

The majority of seniors now know about the extreme importance of having adequate fiber in their diets. But many remain unaware that Omega 3, Vitamin D3, cinnamon, chili peppers, and other red peppers play an equally important role in overall health. Senior nutrition is typically the result of habit, so it is crucial to invest the time to learn of modern health nutritional trends and adjust your dietary habits or dietary supplements for maximum benefit.

Tip #3: Incorporate Weight-Lifting Into Your Fitness Routine

You may be surprised at how well your aging body responds to exercise, regardless of preexisting health conditions.  This holds true even if you are 90 or 100 years of age. Your body still reacts to healthy exercise in the same manner as it did when you were 20 or 30 years old.

Many seniors think that because of their age or perceived weakness, they should avoid activities such as weight training – but the opposite is true! Strenuous exercise breaks down muscle tissue and your body repairs it to make it stronger. It just takes a little bit longer to recover when you are older. Although you are probably not going to stroll into a gymnasium and lift 200-lb dead-lifts or start doing 300-lb squats, keep in mind that most people have never been able to accomplish such feats at any age, without extensive training.

However, it is never recommended to suddenly increase your exercise levels to strenuous levels. Do you remember the very first time you played with a brand-new grandchild? You lifted them over your head, swung them all around. And can you recall how sore you felt the following day? You must slowly ease your body into higher activity levels. Begin by walking each day. Walk your dog for a little longer than usual, explore the new subdivision around the corner, or join a mall-walkers’ group at your local shopping center. When you can walk for an hour or more at a peace that no longer leaves you overly sore or “pooped out,” begin incorporating some weight lifting activity. Your ultimate goal in this is to be able to complete an entire weight lifting workout regimen one to two times per week.

Weight lifting routines intended for senior fitness are not intended to turn you into a competitive bodybuilder with very large muscles.  Instead, it is meant to help you maintain overall body strength and increase body elasticity and general energy levels. These routines can also result in improved blood pressure and sugar levels, better digestive processes, and better balance maintenance. This helps you avoid slips and falls and offers many other benefits for seniors. A lot of senior citizens experience a reduction in lower back discomfort and decreased arthritis pains, in addition to overall reduction in everyday aches and pains that those of advanced age ordinarily endure.

Weight-lifting routines can also help those (especially women) who suffer from or are at risk of osteoporosis. This disorder is characterized by dramatic reduction in bone density, but maintaining an effective weight lifting routine helps maintain bone density levels in the normal range. Other muscle-robbing conditions can also be delayed or lessened in those seniors who regularly exercise with weights. You can check out the video below for some sample weight lifting moves that are great for seniors to get started with:

 

How To Get Started In Your New Fitness Routine

Once you have committed to live your senior years stronger, healthier, better balanced, and with a higher energy level, you need to consult with your doctor.  However, keep in mind that relatively few family practitioners are fitness or nutrition experts or stay current on the most recent exercise research. For that reason, you will also likely want to find a fitness trainer or program at a local gym geared towards those in their sixties and beyond. Fortunately, these programs are growing in popularity and finding one should not be difficult in most areas.

It is time for you to take control of your life, and live it as a true Modern Senior!