Posted on July 28, 2012
Aging is no excuse to give up exercise. Senior health means staying active — it can only improve the way you feel.
Getting older should be about relaxing and taking it easy, right? Not exactly. Exercise is a necessary part of aging.
You will benefit from just about any type of exercise as you age, as long as you’re not at risk of injury. Low-impact exercises are often the best choice, especially when coupled with weight-bearing exercises.
Here are some options to keep you fit, flexible, and feeling energized. Choose at least one exercise from each group:
Cardiovascular exercise. Cardio gets the heart pumping and blood flowing, and may leave you a little sweaty and breathless. Good cardio exercises to try are:
- Walking or light jogging
- Water aerobics or other water classes or exercise
- Golf (minus the carts)
Balance training. Keeping muscles stretched, flexible, and limber will help you feel better, and working on balance can prevent falls. Strengthen balance and flexibility with:
- Frequent stretching
- Tai chi
Strength training. You don’t need to become a bodybuilder, but strengthening muscles can make everyday chores and activities easier, plus it helps your bones. Boost muscle strength using:
- Elastic resistance bands
- Light free weights or dumbbells
- Weight machines
- Using pieces of furniture or walls at home for resistance
How Exercise Helps Overall
Exercise keeps you moving, healthy, and feeling energized. But staying active also benefits your mind, spirit, and body by:
- Keeping you independent and able to take care of yourself at home
- Helping you stay strong and fit so you can play with grandchildren
- Helping you sleep better
- Preventing weight gain and contributing to the loss of extra pounds
- Reducing the risk of falls and broken bones
- Improving your self-confidence and feelings of happiness and self-worth
- Lowering your risk of serious illnesses like heart disease and diabetes
- Keeping your brain and memory functioning well
Making Exercise Part of Your Schedule
It can be tough to make exercise a habit and a regular part of your day, but the benefits are well worth the effort. Make a commitment to exercise, and use these tips to help you ease into a workout program:
- Talk to your doctor. Make sure it’s safe for you to start an exercise routine, and learn which exercises are best and how much you can push yourself.
- Get equipped. You’ll need sturdy, supportive shoes for whatever exercise you choose, whether it’s walking or biking. Also make sure you have clothing that’s comfortable and will help wick away sweat.
- Make the time. Set aside time every day for exercise, even if you start just by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or with a walk around the block. Gradually work your way up to longer workouts on most or every day of the week.
- Turn chores into exercise. You don’t have to hit the gym for it to count as exercise. Scrub your house from top to bottom, mow the lawn, or tackle big projects like cleaning out clutter in closets, the basement, or garage.
- Get motivated. Consider getting a workout buddy to keep you on track or hiring a personal trainer to develop a program. A trainer will encourage you to stick with it and help you chart your progress.
- Make it fun. Exercise doesn’t have to be an exhausting, sweaty chore that you dread. Enjoy your workout! Go dancing, swimming, bike with your friends, or take up a new sport or game. While you’re exercising, listen to music, chat with a friend, or just escape into your own thoughts.
You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to work in small bits of exercise each day and how you’ll come to enjoy it and look forward to it. Everyone wants to stay healthy, active, and independent as they age, and regular exercise is the key.
This section created and produced exclusively by the editorial staff of EverydayHealth.com. © 2011 EverydayHealth.com; all rights reserved.
Submitted by Constant Companions Home Care