Whether you’re a youngster or an older individual, exercise keeps your body active and healthy. Understandably, as you age it can get harder to move around, but getting old doesn’t mean you have to give up on exercising and staying fit. With these basic senior-friendly exercises, you can stay healthy and limber for many years to come.
Activities like walking and jogging maintain cardiovascular health. When you do them regularly, you also build up your physical endurance. This endurance carries over to other day-to-day activities like shopping or walking around the house – you are better able to do what you need to every day, without becoming winded or exhausted.
It is easy to schedule more walking in to your day; consider adding a walk around the block to your daily routine or take the stairs more often. You can even invest in a step counter – you should try and walk 5,000 to 10,000 steps every day to stay healthy.
When people think of weight lifting, they often picture large athletes lifting hundreds of pounds, but that is only the extreme. Weight lifting builds strength and muscle mass, which makes it easier to move around and lift objects in your home.
Basic exercises like curls and lifts are a good place to start if you’re a beginning lifter or haven’t recently been active. Be sure to start with a realistic amount of weight – when you overload, you may break good lifting form, which can cause an injury. Start with low weights and gradually work your way up as you feel more comfortable and grow stronger.
Stretching is a good way to keep your body limber and loose, whether you do it first thing in the morning or before and after participating in other types of exercise. Using different poses, you can stretch out every muscle group in the body. A couple of common stretches are chest stretches and neck rotation.
Be sure to stretch out your whole body before every workout. As you stretch, you should feel your muscles flex and loosen, but you should never feel pain.
A stationary bike is another way to get your cardio in. These bikes are easy to set up in your basement or living room, and they don’t take up much space. Riding an exercise bike is more strenuous than taking walk, but it is low impact, and you don’t have to worry as much about falling and injuring yourself.
As with any form of exercise, make sure to stretch out beforehand to avoid cramps or injuries. To build up your endurance, start with 15- to 20-minute sessions and go longer as you are able.
It is important to build muscle and cardiovascular endurance, but developing balance is equally important. You can improve your balance around the house, without any extra equipment. For example, you can do chair leg raises by holding on to a chair and lifting one leg backward.
Yoga, a combination of stretching and balance poses, is a low impact way to keep your body loose and limber while improving your balance. During yoga, you go through a series of basic poses like the upward- and downward-facing dog poses.
You can learn techniques at home with books and videos, or you can attend classes at your local community center or a yoga studio to learn from professional instructors.
Swimming & Water Aerobics
Swimming and water-based exercises are an excellent way to stay active. Swimming laps or performing calisthenics in the water gently builds your endurance and muscle strength without adversely affecting your joints. Community centers with pools often have open swim times and also offer water aerobics classes.
If you haven’t been physically active in a while, getting back in the habit can be challenging. However, with patience and options like those above, it’s possible to develop a strong foundation over time. Regular exercise keeps you active and physically fit well into old age.