Exercise isn’t something that should be neglected as we move into our senior years. In fact, it’s a key factor in preventing many age-related health issues. This includes reducing your risk of heart attack, stroke, and hardened arteries. Regular exercise will also strengthen your bones and muscles, helping you fight age-related diseases such as osteoporosis.
By maintaining your health and fitness, you can remain independent and continue the activities you’ve enjoyed in the past. If you want to improve your mobility, sleep better, relieve stress and prevent memory loss, exercise is once again the answer. Even if you haven’t been active in a while, it’s never too late to get started again.
Let’s take a look at four essential health and fitness tips for seniors that will help you reap the countless physical and mental health benefits of exercise.
Take it Slow
The more sedentary you’ve been since the last time you exercised, the more your body will need to adjust to movement again. To prevent injuries and mobility issues, take it slow when starting out with a new exercise routine. Even a simple walk or basic stretching exercise for the first few days is a major step in the right direction.
When starting off, it would be wise to perform your exercises in a safe area. Consider joining a local group or club where you can exercise with like-minded people and keep each other motivated. If you prefer exercising at home, consider using a safety device. For instance, a medical alert system will notify you that help is on the way with voice recognition.
Build Your Balance
Falls account for one of the leading causes of life-threatening injuries among seniors. By working on your balance, you’ll have better control over your movements when navigating challenging surfaces such as stairs and moving trains. Exercises like yoga are particularly effective when it comes to improving your balance.
They also help you work on your flexibility, which is just as important in your day-to-day life. That said, you don’t have to dive into complex yoga movements from the get-go. Even a simple daily exercise like standing on one leg for ten seconds will help you improve your balance.
Listen to Your Body
When starting out with a new fitness routine, it’s perfectly normal to experience the occasional discomfort and minor aches. However, if you experience any sharp, stabbing pains during certain movements, you should avoid those movements entirely. They might be the result of your body not yet being flexible enough to perform that movement.
When performing any new movement in your exercise routine, be sure to do so in a slow and steady manner. Focus more on your breathing and technique than the number of repetitions you perform. Remember, fitness is about quality, not quantity.
Improve Your Strength
Once you’ve spent a few weeks improving your balance and flexibility, you can start focusing on strength-building exercises. These are just as important since overall muscle strength can mean the difference between being able to perform tasks like carrying groceries or getting out of a chair and requiring assistance to perform these simple tasks.
A simple and easy start would be to pick up a pair of 1-2-pound dumbbells. Perform a variety of exercises to work various muscle groups, such as triceps extensions, chest presses, and bicep curls. Activities such as squats and lunges will help you improve your lower body strength.
Being generally strong and flexible can be achieved through nothing more than a few minutes of daily exercise. From improving your mental and physical performance to enhancing your overall quality of life, keeping to a fitness routine is always a worthwhile endeavor.