Exercise is an activity that even the youngest and healthiest people often neglect to make a habit of doing. But exercise is a secret weapon for a senior to stay healthy and independent for longer into their golden years. There are plenty of great exercises for seniors that can keep them active and refreshed.
Maintaining fitness and exercising does not necessarily mean lifting heavy weights and undertaking rigorous, intense workout regiments for long times. However, avoiding lethargy and inactivity can boost your general health and make you feel good throughout the day.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has recommended four basic types of exercise for seniors that accommodate an elder’s pace and promote health.
Strength Exercises: For seniors, strength exercises are often condensed down to a manageable lightweight dumbbell workout. The goal is not so much to build mass as it is to stimulate muscles and maintain strength.
Do not exert yourself too much; select a weight that feels just enough to require a little umph. Then use smooth, steady movements to bring the weight or dumbbell into position. Avoid sharp jerking movements or locking your joints. Don’t forget to breathe steadily. Holding your breath for too long while lifting can negatively affect your blood pressure.
If you find yourself exhausted after exercise, then that is a good indicator that you are working too hard.
Balance Exercises: Improving and strengthening the lower half of the body will help with balance and reduce the risk of falls among seniors. Falling is one of the leading causes of disabilities among seniors, with over 300,000 elders treated for broken hips every year.
Thus it is crucial to do whatever it takes to avoid such an accident in your older age. Some good balance exercises for seniors may include lowering down to do squats while holding on to a table edge; standing on one foot; walking heel to toe, back leg / side leg raises.
It is unwise for seniors to use heavy weights for squats. Balance exercises for seniors can be done at any time as long as their is steady support near by to ensure safety in case of a balance misstep.
Stretching Exercises: Stretching loosens up the joints and allows for more freedom of movement for seniors; this allows you to be more active. It is wise to do some light stretching as a warm up before attempting a more intense workout in order to better prepare the body. Never bounce into a stretch because doing so will put unnecessary strain on your joints.
A stretch may be mildly uncomfortable, but should never be painful. Take time to research which stretching exercises are more your pace.
Endurance Exercises: Endurance exercises for seniors include activities that raise your heart rate and intensify your breathing. Such exercises include going for a jog, swimming, biking, or even some exerting chores like raking leaves. Although especially intense chores like shoveling snow may prove to be dangerously over-exerting, so it may be wise to give the nice neighbor-boy a few bucks for those grueling undertakings.
Cardio activity is good for improving heart health, as heart problems are very common in older men. Doing about five minutes of cardio at a time will gradually build your endurance and lead to an improved state of health.