Welcome to Senior Fitness 101! If there’s any time when fitness matters most, it’s during the golden years. But that leaves many questions unanswered.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the different types of physical activity, why every senior needs a fitness plan, the best and worst exercises for seniors, and safety tips!
Your senior fitness class is officially in session.
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Types of Senior Fitness Exercise & Physical Activity
Everyone should exercise, no matter how old they are. Physical activity keeps our bones, muscles, and mind in great shape. As we age, fitness becomes even more critical.
It allows us to stay strong and flexible and is a great way to prevent injuries and illnesses and slow down the aging process.
Fitness for seniors has gained popularity over time as people start to realize the benefits it brings. If you want to stay healthy, keep reading to see our list of best exercises for older adults.
The best senior care Houston has to offer will tell you that engaging in physical activities and exercising is an essential aspect of staying healthy for almost everyone, including the elderly.
There are four main types of exercise and physical activities, each yielding its own unique set of benefits. Here’s a look at each:
Aerobic/Endurance for Seniors
These are activities that increase your heart rate and breathing. Some aerobic activities and exercises include swimming, biking, dancing, jogging, running, and other similar activities.
Aerobic exercises help keep your entire cardiovascular system healthy. There are many aerobic senior fitness classes for seniors available.
You can probably find many gyms that offer these classes, but you can always find great courses online if you prefer to stay at home.
Remember that you can always modify any exercise to your fitness level; always listen to your body.
Walk and Roll!
Endurance exercises raise your heart rate and increase breathing. Not only do endurance exercises improve lung and heart health, but they can also make everyday life easier.
You can walk longer distances, complete more chores in a day, and keep up with younger members of your family.
Walking or rolling (if you use a wheelchair) are beginner-friendly and effective modes of exercise.
Both can be social, and you can squeeze them into your day seamlessly because you often need to get to places anyway! For example, instead of driving to the grocery store, walk or roll there.
If it’s close by, use a longer, more scenic route.
A fitness device can help you track your steps. Getting 10,000 steps a day means you’re getting enough endurance activity. More than that means you’re highly active.
Start both your endurance routine and step-tracking small. You don’t need to conquer a walkathon right away. Instead, start with a 10-minute session and slowly work up from there.
Strength Training for Seniors
These are activities and exercises that increase your muscle strength. Some strength training activities include lifting weights and exercising with resistance bands.
Strength training is one of the best types of exercise for seniors. It strengthens your muscles and your bones, which can help decrease your risk of osteoporosis or help you slow it down.
As we age, our muscles start to deteriorate.
Strength training keeps our muscles strong and keeps us safe when we do all types of movements, from standing up to picking something up from the floor.
Dumbbells Not Required
Seniors may avoid strength exercises because they fear getting hurt or don’t want to purchase expensive equipment. But strength exercises can be accessible, affordable, and safe.
These exercises can include wall push-ups, hand grips, knee curls, and more.
The National Institute on Aging had the following recommendations for handling strength training:
- Do strength training exercises two or more days a week.
- Aim for 30-minute sessions.
- Engage all muscle groups, but don’t exercise the same muscle group two days in a row.
- If you use weights, gradually add on more weights. You can add heavier weights once you can do two sets of 10-15 repetitions.
For any of these strength exercises, specialized equipment is not mandatory.
Body-weight exercises using your body’s natural resistance, such as wall push-ups and chair dips, can be done at home with limited space.
Senior Fitness Balance Exercises
This variety of exercises are designed to improve your balance, thereby preventing you from falling.
Activities such as yoga, water aerobics, and Pilates can help strengthen your core and increase your balance.
Keeping your core strong is key to balancing, as it is what helps keep your body centered. If you have ever slipped and managed to steady yourself and not fall, you have your core to thank.