Exercises and Seniors

Having a regular exercise routine can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle as a senior, improving your body and mind.

There are a variety of health benefits to exercise, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, gaining more energy, increasing bone strength, maintaining bone density, boosting memory and much more. In fact, most of the symptoms that the public associates with “getting old” are actually symptoms of not moving or exercising enough.

By building and engaging in a workout routine of your own, you will feel the difference. Therefore, it is important to learn about the different types of exercises that are recommended for senior citizens, including endurance training, interval training and strength training. It is also important to be aware of the common myths about exercise and aging in order to avoid these common misconceptions. To learn more about exercises for senior citizens and their benefits, review the information below.

An Antidote to Aging

While a well-rounded exercise routine is a part of every healthy lifestyle, exercise becomes even more crucial as we age, as do other factors like maintaining a healthy diet. Studies show that many of the conditions that senior citizens succumb to do not so much have to do to getting older as simply not moving enough. By engaging in an exercise routine, older adults have the opportunity to avoid heart disease, dangerous falls, osteoporosis and more. No matter your age, you can experience significant benefits if you engage in:

  • Aerobic exercise.
  • Strength training.
  • Flexibility and balance.

While it is a great idea for every senior citizen to begin a new workout plan, it is important to discuss any concerns that you may have with your physician. While having a condition such as arthritis, heart disease and osteoporosis does not mean you cannot achieve a beneficial exercise routine, you may need to tweak your routine a little to meet certain conditions.

Endurance Exercises for Senior Citizens

Endurance exercises have been proven to improve overall cardiovascular function and prevent metabolisms from slowing down in senior citizens. It is recommended that you engage in at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense cardio activities each day and aim for a total of at least 150 minutes each week. Common exercises include running, cycling and water aerobics.

Perhaps the most beneficial endurance exercise that a senior citizen can engage in is water aerobics. Not only can water exercises provide a number of health benefits, but these exercises can often help senior citizens reduce their loss of reaction time, which can aid in daily tasks such as driving. In fact, research shows that adults who participated in regular aqua aerobic exercises over a 12-week period had greater strength, flexibility, reaction time, agility and cholesterol levels.

Aqua aerobic classes are commonly offered to senior citizens at local gyms and hospitals, allowing you to enjoy the exercise while still being able to socialize with others.

The Benefits of Interval Training

Interval training is another beneficial exercise program that can improve your overall health and help you achieve healthy aging. There are a great deal of senior citizens who opt for interval training instead of participating in traditional endurance training sessions. Instead of the steady exercise routine that endurance training has to offer, interval training will have you alternative between intense activities and lighter activities.

At higher intensities, for example, you may increase your speed, incline or resistance if running. An ideal interval workout plan may include five intervals that require a higher intensity for one to two minutes, with a one- to two-minute period in which you engage in a lower-intensity workout, such as a brisk walk. During high-intensity intervals, you should not be able to talk or sing easily, and lower intensity intervals should provide you with a brief “breather.”

Using Strength Training to Maintain Muscle Mass

Maintaining muscle mass becomes even more important as we age. The more muscle mass you lose, the more fat may take its place. Additionally, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories that you will burn in your other exercises, making your entire routine that much more effective. Having more muscle mass can also help protect your joints, strengthen your bones, maintain bone density and improve balance. This can be crucial in preventing fractures and falls.

You need not be a body builder to enjoy the benefits of strength training. Simply add strength training to your routine two or three times each week by lifting weights. It is important to do a variety of strength training workouts, however, as this can help you to challenge all of your major muscle groups. If your repetitions begin to grow too easy, be sure to increase the weight. The last few of your repetitions should be challenging but achievable.

Myths About Exercising as a Senior Citizen

There are a lot of myths around exercising and aging that you should be aware of in order to avoid these common misconceptions. One of the most common myths is that there is no point in exercise and living a healthier lifestyle since old age is inevitable. However, many of the symptoms that are believed to be associated with old age are often just symptoms of inactivity. There are senior citizens in their 70s, 80s and even 90s who can run marathons. Not only can exercise help you improve your overall mental health, but it can also aid in the prevention of dementia and boost memory.

Another common myth involves the idea that exercise among senior citizens is not safe, as injuries and falls are more likely to occur. In reality, studies show that exercise can help a senior citizen improve her or his strength, balance and agility. It can also strengthen bones and help you to maintain bone density, thus reducing your chances of experiencing serious falls and injuries.

There are a lot of people who believe that exercise will hurt joints due to pain from chronic afflictions such as arthritis. However, this is a misconception, and many studies have shown that exercising regularly can actually help to relieve arthritis pain. Ultimately, it is important to listen to your own body when you are exercising. It is important to feel challenged during a workout, but if you are in pain or feel that you are pushing yourself too hard, you should lower the intensity of your exercise.

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