Staying Fit: Exercise for Seniors

Being healthy and active will help us all live longer. It is important to keep up with an exercise program as we get older. The benefits of exercise for senior citizens can be truly life changing. Even a small amount of increased physical activity can benefit your functional health as a senior. Improve your mental functions, socialize with friends and help prevent injury and falls – what better reasons do you have as a senior then to stay active and exercise.

There are four basic components to correct exercise for seniors that will lead to healthy living: cardio, strength, flexibility and balance.

Cardio Training
Cardio training is an activity that increases the heart rate. Good exercises that are appropriate for seniors include: walking, swimming and bike riding. All are gentle on the joints. Doing this type of exercise 3 or more times a week is essential.

Strength Exercise
Strength building exercises are also important for seniors. As we age our muscles slowly begin to decline in their size. The more a muscle is not used, the more it will shrink. It is important to exercise with light weights a few times a week to keep the muscles strong.

Flexibility and Stretching Exercise
For good posture and healthy joints it is important for seniors to undertake a few minutes each day or every other day and include a regime of stretching exercises. Exercises that involve stretching help keep the body flexible.

Balance Exercise
Balance exercises are often overlooked. However, it is very important for helping prevent slip and fall accidents.

Benefits of Regular Exercise

  • Improved Overall Health
  • Smaller Waistline
  • Lowered Risk of Bone Fracture (including Hips)
  • Lower Risk of Lung, Breast and Colon Cancers
  • Stabilized Blood Sugar Reducing Type II Diabetes
  • Better Balance and Bone Strength

Here is 4 easy stretching and fitness exercises to get you started.

  1. Shoulder Rotation – Stretch your arms downwards, stretch your hands open and hold for a few seconds. Switch and stretch arms upwards and hold for a few seconds. Repeat 5 times.
  2. Walking – Walking is a great form of exercise that can be done by most people. Join a walking club, or walk with friends in your community. Try for at least 30 minutes at a good pace.
  3. Balancing – With a table, railing or chair nearby for aid, slowly rise up on your toes and hold for several seconds. Slowly lower yourself back onto your flat footing. Repeat 10 times.
  4. V – Shaped Stretch – Reach up with both hands straight above the head. Slowly bend at your waist so your hands reach towards the floor. Hold for several seconds. Repeat 10 times.

Find an activity you enjoy and get out there, invite friends to join you and make it even more fun.

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