As you age, you’ll find that your body needs more and more maintenance. Whether you already lead a fairly active lifestyle or prefer to spend your time relaxing with a book, there is no question regarding the benefits of physical activity.
The World Health Organization recommends that older adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Research shows that regular exercise helps lower the rates of heart and coronary disease, prevents type 2 diabetes, leads to better cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and can even prevent certain types of cancer. Additionally, it contributes to better cognitive function and can offer a significant mood boost.
If you’re looking for easy (and safe) ways to stay fit, here are our top choices for health and longevity-promoting exercises seniors can do.
It is recommended that a healthy adult individual walk 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. And while these numbers may seem intimidating at first glance, they’re actually not too difficult to achieve. Taking a 30-minute walk, in addition to the steps you take during your day-to-day activities, is an excellent way to improve your health.
And the best thing about it is that it can easily become part of your daily routine without sacrificing safety. If you’re worried about taking a fall, you can wear an auto fall detection help button for peace of mind.
Lower Body Strength
To ensure your body is getting all the benefits of physical activity, it’s important that you work on strengthening your key muscle groups. Some of the best and most effective exercises seniors can do include chair-assisted squats, leg raises, and toe stands, all of which you can do by holding on to a sturdy object. Not only will these exercises help build muscle mass, but they can also be helpful in improving balance.
You can even do some exercises while sitting down or lying in bed. For example, a great way to work your thighs is to sit on a chair with your back straight and extend your leg, holding the extension for 5 seconds. Repeat this 10 to 15 times for both legs, slowly working your way up to two or three sets.
Upper Body Strength
In order to be able to go about your daily activities, it’s crucial that you don’t forget about your upper body. While some home activities, such as gardening, mowing the lawn, and even cooking, help maintain the muscle mass in your arms and shoulders, it’s still recommended that you do a couple of exercises to target this area. Bicep curls are easy and don’t require too much equipment (just use a 16 oz water bottle as a weight). Work your way up to two sets of ten, making sure you’re keeping proper form and breathing.
Those looking for more of a challenge can attempt to do a few push-ups daily. If you find them too difficult, you can add some modifications, such as doing them against the wall, while focusing on maintaining a strong core.
Those who suffer from joint pain or are looking for something a bit more demanding than walking could benefit a great deal from a couple of swim sessions during the week. The main benefit of this type of exercise is that it unloads the joints from any stress while conditioning muscles and building endurance. You can even join a water aerobics class, which has similar benefits and is a great way to work out in a group.
Most experts recommend that people do some mobility work in addition to aerobic exercise and strengthening. Some people will benefit greatly from joining a yoga class, but there are also a few simple stretches you can do at home.
For example, ankle circles can be done in bed. Do 10 to 20 rotations clockwise, then repeat counterclockwise. Not only will these alleviate stiffness and pain, but they’ll also strengthen the muscles in your lower legs, leading to better stability. Other useful stretches include a standing quadriceps stretch, as well as neck stretches and clasping your hands behind your back to release the shoulders and arms.
If you find that none of these physical activities work for you, you can join an exercise class, which is a great way to meet new people, in addition to getting fit and healthy. Dance classes, for example, are proven to be helpful in promoting balance, muscle strength, and even preventing memory loss. Some health and fitness experts claim that a couple of 10 to 15-minute sessions in a sauna can promote heart health and lower cholesterol levels.
So you see, the possibilities are endless.
And if you decide to go with the standard route of creating a workout plan for yourself, it’s vital that you do your activities in a secure environment. Medical Alert Systems can come in the form of an alert console unit, a voice-activated mini console, easy to install wall buttons, and even high-tech wearables that will help you stay safe while staying healthy on the go.