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.

About Susan Day

Susan Day is a mother to two beautiful daughters and a grandmother to one adorable five year old boy. She is determined to live an active, happy life well beyond here current 70 years of age!