Keeping Active in Your Senior Years
I’m sure you have heard it several times before – exercise is good for you! Regular exercise can help improve mental and physical health for seniors. It will keep you active, healthy, and independent longer. Here are just a few of the proven benefits of exercising as a senior:
Decreases the risk of falls
Improves mental health
Improves cognitive ability
Reduces the risk of dementia
Improves bone strength
Improves quality of sleep
Staying active in your senior years will likely look different than exercising in your 20s. That’s okay! In fact, it probably should! You need to work with your body to prevent injury. Speaking to your doctor about any new physical activities or exercises is always a good idea. Low impact exercises will get your body moving without putting any additional stress on your joints. Some exercises focus on endurance, while others may focus on flexibility, strength, and balance. Here are just a few of my favorite low impact exercises that you can easily incorporate into your daily life.
This is one of the best low impact exercises you can do! Make sure you have supportive shoes to prevent injury. You can start slow, about 20 minutes, and work your way up to an hour. You may want to loosen up before you walk by doing some gentle stretches and ankles rolls. Following your walk, stretch again so your muscles don’t tighten up later. Remember to take it easy and not overdo it.
If you have arthritis, swimming could be the best low impact exercise for you. Water takes the stress and weight of your bones and joints. Swimming is also great cardio! It stretches and uses muscles that may not be used as often on dry land. Many community centers and public pools offer water aerobics classes catered to seniors that are a fun and it’s a great way to get some exercise without putting too much pressure on your joints.
Exercise doesn’t have to be at a gym! There are lots of hobbies that include physical exercise and provide amazing health benefits. Golf is excellent for improving flexibility, strength, and balance. Before a round, remember to warm up and always be mindful of your posture and swing to prevent injury. Golf is a great way to enjoy the beautiful fresh air, while also improving your physical health.
There are great yoga classes and videos online that are specific to seniors. There are even chair yoga classes that are done seated. If you go to a gym or yoga studio, you will often find your teacher will provide modifications if you have difficulty doing a certain movement.
If you are looking for an at-home workout class, go to YouTube, and search for low impact exercise for seniors. There are hundreds if not thousands of videos and workouts you can try. Just remember to do it safely as pushing yourself too much can cause injury. Small changes to your daily routine can make a big difference. Parking a little further away from the grocery store and getting in extra steps or choosing to take the stairs over the escalator can improve your physical and mental health!
Are you keeping active? I’d love to hear what you are doing in the comments below!
P.S. If you have arthritis, it can make exercising challenging – but it’s still important. Check out my blog post on arthritis here.