If you thought your golden years provided an excuse to quit exercising, think again. If anything, regular physical activity is even more important as you age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the noticeable decrease in strength and stamina many senior citizens report is partially due to a drop in physical activity. In fact, the CDC estimates that one in three men and one in two women don’t partake in any exercise at all by the age of 75. That is an alarming rate, especially when you consider the physical and mental benefits of regular exercise. If you’re ready to improve your cardiovascular health and increase your strength and stamina, consider starting off with some low-impact exercises for seniors. A few minutes each day makes all the difference.
The Importance of Exercise
Regular exercise can work wonders. It increases your metabolism, keeps your heart healthy, and improves balance and coordination. It has even been linked to improving your mood. In an article in the American Psychological Association, Michael Otto, a professor of psychology at Boston University, says the link between exercise and mood is evident. “Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect,” he says.
But beyond improving your mood and your waistline, regular exercise can help you perform the routine tasks of everyday life. For seniors living independently, this is crucial. As we age, our balance and coordination can suffer. Regular exercise, even low-impact exercises for seniors, can help maintain those abilities. As you exercise your muscles, you’re also improving your coordination and balance, which can reduce the risk of debilitating falls in the future. Regular exercise can even help keep your bones healthy and strong as you age, which is especially important for people with osteoporosis.
High-Impact vs. Low-Impact Exercise
There are two main categories of physical activity: high impact and low impact. High-impact workouts are great for burning calories and improving your cardiovascular health, but they also come with a greater chance of injury. Running, jumping rope, and step aerobics are all examples of high-impact exercises.
Low-impact workouts are easy on your joints and reduce the stress on your muscles but offer many of the same health benefits as high-impact activities. It’s typically a good idea to shift from high-impact exercises to low-impact exercises as you age so that you can maintain your body’s strength and fitness without overtaxing it.
Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors
There are a variety of low-impact exercises for seniors that you can use to stay fit without straining your muscles and joints. We recommend all of the following:
- Water Aerobics
- Tai Chi
- TRX Suspension Training
- The Elliptical
- Lifting Weights
Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try something new and unusual. For example, if you’re looking for new low-impact exercises for seniors and prefer group classes, you might consider tai chi. Not only does this meditative workout enhance your mood and cognitive strength, but it also improves your balance.
Tips for Getting Started
Even though you’re choosing a low-impact workout routine, it’s still important to consult your physician beforehand to be sure you’re in good shape for it.
Once you’ve been cleared for low-impact physical activity, we recommend that you work with a trainer or staff member at your gym to learn the ropes. This should help you avoid unnecessary strains and injuries and ensure that you’re doing the exercises properly.
Then it’s time to create a workout routine. It’s best to make exercise part of your daily schedule. Not only will this help you commit to the workout, but daily exercise has been proven to be the most effective. If your schedule is already busy, don’t worry. The CDC says even 10-minute intervals of physical activity are beneficial.
Fitness doesn’t have to be intimidating or stressful. In fact, it can be a ton of fun if you choose the right activity. You might enjoy the solitude of exercising alone, or you could work out with friends and cheer each other on.
Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville and Bartlett. Our warm and inviting communities makes it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. To learn more about our amenities and services, please contact us online.