Exercise Tips for Senior Citizens

Exercise Tips for Senior Citizens

Exercise is crucial for seniors to maintain good health. Seniors are encouraged to first have a discussion about exercise with their physician and follow their advice.

In general, experts recommend seniors exercise at least 30 minutes, 3 times per week to see benefits in musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary function, as well as an improvement in perceived well-being and enhanced quality of life.
Exercise Tips for Senior Citizens

Read more: Benefits Of Outdoor Exercise For Health

Why is exercise important for older adults to stay active?

Staying active can certainly reduce incidences of premature death due to chronic diseases, such as stroke, heart attack and diabetes.  There is also ample evidence bone density increases with exercise, which can help prevent osteoporosis.  Improved agility, mobility and independence are also significant benefits to staying active.  Exercise can also assist with sleeping disorders and depression.

Other benefits of exercise include improved posture and balance and increased gait. There is also a reduction in edema and fatigue. Exercise also enhances breathing and the ability to sit and stand straight. There is improved use of hands while the ability to lift, handle and manipulate objects is enhanced.

Exercise Tips for Senior Citizens

Consult Your Physician

Get a green light from your doctor. If you've been physically inactive or have any medical conditions, it's important to clear a new exercise program with him. He'll assess your overall health and fitness level, which will help design a safe and effective exercise routine. He may give you a stress test to measure your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, strength and energy level. The stress test also indicates if there is a lack of blood flow to arteries that go to your heart. Learning your fitness level helps to determine which physical activities will be the most beneficial and others that you should avoid.

Moderation and regular exercise are beneficial

Remember that you'll reap the most benefits from exercise done in moderation. Moderate, regular exercise is an essential part of any osteoporosis treatment program.

However, any program should be undertaken with your doctor or physical therapist's advice and guidance, and should be begun slowly. Overly vigorous exercise could actually counteract your goals and may reduce the risk of injury.

Incorporate balance and functional training into your existing cardiovascular and strength regimen; don't just increase the amount of work you do. Remember, you can do more harm than good by doing strength exercises too often. Don't exercise the same set of muscles 2 days in a row.

Regular Exercise in Moderation

Regular exercise will provide the greatest degree of benefit for seniors. Most individuals get more out of their senior fitness programs when they exercise regularly (3 to five times a week) and when they incorporate different forms of training into their routine. Seniors will also benefit from such a regular but broadened fitness program.

Remember that you'll reap the most benefits from physical activity if done in moderation. Moderate, regular physical activity is a crucial part of any osteoporosis treatment program. Nevertheless, any program should be undertaken with your doctor or physical therapist's advice and guidance, and should be begun slowly.

Overly vigorous exercise could actually counteract your goals and may reduce the risk of injury. Remember, you will be able to do more harm than good by doing strength exercises too often. Do not exercise the same set of muscles 2 days in a row.

Take it Slow

Avoid strenuous exercises or working out too quickly in the beginning, which may cause stress on your bones and muscles, leading to injury. Slowly build up your stamina with walking. Walking is a low-impact exercise that gently prepares your body for more physically demanding exercises. According to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, walking can help improve balance, alleviate anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer. Start by walking 10 to 15 minutes at a slow, comfortable pace. Increase the speed to a brisk walk as your energy and strength improve.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Warming up before exercising and cooling down afterward are important in lessening your chances of injury. Warming up involves five to 10 minutes of gentle exercises, such as stretching, which sends blood flow to the limbs and muscles, and helps to loosen them up before more strenuous exercise. It also prepares your cardiovascular system and reduces the risk of stress on the heart. After you've finished exercising, cool down with stretches and slow walking to allow your breathing and heart rate to return to their resting level. Cooling down will help prevent muscle soreness after exercising.

Pay attention to your body

This is the most important of our exercise tips for seniors. Although we recommend that you start a regular exercise routine and challenge your body through fitness, be careful as well. You don’t want to push yourself too far. If you experience any pain, feel lightheaded, or notice any other unusual symptoms, stop the exercise and call your doctor. If your doctor says you can resume exercising, begin at a slower pace.

Exercise Tips for Senior Citizens

Work With Your Limitations

If you have certain physical limitations, you still have many options for keeping physically fit. Many bowling alleys are wheelchair accessible and are accommodating to bowlers who are sight-impaired or blind. Most gyms and senior centers offer slow-moving exercise classes and team sports for senior citizens with physical disabilities and limited mobility. Look for low-impact exercise classes, such as tai chi and yoga, which help to improve balance and flexibility through slow-moving poses and stretches. Check whether swimming pools in your area offer gentle water aerobic exercises for seniors.

Choose Activities You'll Enjoy

So many different activities fall under the category of physical exercise. If you want to keep up this positive lifestyle change, you need to find an activity that you enjoy. Choose the right activity and you might even look forward to your daily exercise! Consider the following ideas as you explore our exercise tips for seniors:

  • Walking. Walking can be done just about anywhere. Plus, you can walk with friends and talk, walk alone and let your mind wander, or walk with your headphones on for some entertainment.
  • Group classes. Group classes let you hang out with your friends while you exercise. Plus, you will be more likely to stick to the class schedule so that you don’t let your friends down.
  • Dance. Exercise is all about movement, so if you get bored lifting weights or walking, try a more vibrant and fun activity like dance. You could dance alone or join a class or group. Try ballroom dancing, line dancing, rhythmic dancing, or even hip hop!
  • Yoga. Flexibility is incredibly important as you age, and yoga is a great way to stretch and relax. You’ll increase your range of motion, improve your balance, and gain strength.
  • Doing chores, like sweeping or cleaning windows, also exercises the body.   Gardening is another good exercise seniors can enjoy.

Continue To Monitor Your health

You may be highly active and in perfect health, but it's still important to check in with your physician for regular health screenings to see whether any of your vital signs have changed. Senior Alert Medical recommends that senior citizens frequently monitor their vitals, especially important if you're exerting your cardiovascular and respiratory systems through regular exercise. Most pharmacies offer convenient cholesterol and blood pressure checks at no charge. In case of a medical emergency, wear a medical alert device.