Health and fitness is important at all ages. Despite the growing number of birthday candles each passing year, exercise for seniors continues to offer great health benefits with the potential to reduce age-related physical and mental ailments. In fact, developed and enriched senior fitness can enhance life quality while potentially adding on more years of life!
Fitness for Seniors: Why Is It Important?
Improved Heart Health
Heart disease is the number one killer in America but can luckily be prevented through lifestyle changes, including consistent aerobic exercises. Elevating heart rate can help improve blood flow to the heart and lungs and encourage healthy blood pressure levels. Controlled blood pressure lessens the risk of heart attack, stroke, and dementia.
Sustained Bone Strength
Seniors’ susceptibility to calcium and vitamin D deficiencies puts them at an increased risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. Weight bearing activities have shown to help protect against bone loss, subsequently keeping bones strong and reducing the likelihood of falls.
Maintained Muscle Mass
As the body changes, anatomical changes are likely to occur. Seniors tend to lose precious muscle mass while fat mass takes its place. The swap not only causes a slower metabolism, but lessens senior strength and increases their risk for falls and injuries.
Enhanced Balance and Coordination
Exercise can improve and support balance, reducing the risk of tripping and falling, ultimately lessening the likelihood of minor or major injuries.
Nurtured Brain Function
Beyond physical health, regular exercise can offer great benefits to the brain. Advancing age increases the risk of cognitive and memory impairments, while regular exercise can sharpen concentration, protect against memory loss, and prevent or slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Regulated Bathroom Habits
Seniors are at risk for constipation, especially if immobile, have reduce fluid intake, or consume a low-fiber diet. But regular exercise can help stimulate the natural movement of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and improve bowel patterns.
Exercises for Seniors
First and foremost, consult with a primary care provider before jumping into any sort of exercise regimen. After obtaining approval, it is important to remember to start small and slow to prevent injury. The following exercises can contribute to cardiovascular health, muscle and bone strength, and balance improvement:
The consistent practice of walking has shown to have renowned benefits to health, including heart health, muscle tone, and balance. Additionally, stepping into the great outdoors can improve mood and increase exposure to vitamin D!
Swimming and in-pool exercises is an excellent exercise for seniors, as the soothing water is easy on the joints. Group water aerobic classes are also fun ways to get active while forming social bonds!
Resistance and strength training is one of the best exercises for elderly to maintain muscle mass. Conserve muscle and strength with these 10 exercises!
Across all generations, stretching may be one of the most missed and underrated components of physical activity. It is important to stretch directly following a workout when the muscles are still “warm” and loose to ultimately prevent sore and stiff muscles for days to follow.
Incorporating balance exercises can help improve compromised stability. Exercises shown to improve balance include marching in place, step-ups, and even tai chi!
Household Chores and Hobbies
While some may not like exercise, completing household chores and enjoying hobbies are considered physical activities. Cleaning the kitchen, folding laundry, and gardening can elevate heart rate and contribute to a number of health benefits.