Maintaining regular exercise routines can be challenging as you get older. With senior health and fitness, you may feel discouraged by illness, ongoing health problems, or concerns about injuries or falls. If you’re new to exercise, you may not know where to begin, perhaps you feel too old or frail, or maybe exercise for seniors just seems a little too much for you!
While these may seem like good reasons to slow down and take it easy as you age, they’re actually even better reasons to get moving. Exercise can energize your mood, relieve stress, help you manage symptoms of illness and pain, and improve your overall sense of well-being. In fact, exercise is the key to becoming stronger seniors, remaining energetic and healthy as you get older. And it can even be fun, too.
No matter your age or your current physical condition, exercises for seniors are always a benefit. Reaping the rewards of exercise doesn’t require strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. It’s about adding more movement and activity to your daily life. Every little helps, whether you are generally healthy seniors or are managing an illness—even if you’re housebound—there are many simple ways to get your body moving and improve your health.
Senior health and fitness – The physical benefits
Exercise helps older adults maintain or lose weight. As metabolism naturally slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Exercising increases metabolism and builds muscle mass, helping to burn more calories. When your body reaches a healthy weight, your overall wellness will improve.
Exercise reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease. Among the many benefits of exercises for older adults include improved immune function, better heart health and blood pressure, better bone density, and better digestive functioning. People who exercise also have a lowered risk of several chronic conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and colon cancer.
Exercise for seniors enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance. Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, co-ordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Stretching exercises for seniors and strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Mental health benefits of exercise for seniors
Exercise improves your sleep. Poor sleep is not an inevitable consequence of aging and quality sleep is important for your overall health. Exercise promotes a deeper sleep, helping you nod off more quickly.
Exercises for seniors boosts mood and self-confidence. Endorphin’s produced by exercise can actually help you feel better and reduce feelings of sadness or depression. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident and sure of yourself.
Exercise is good for the brain. Exercise benefits regular brain functions and can help keep the brain active promoting healthy seniors. This can prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Exercise may even help slow the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
So where do we get started?
For seniors who are new to or daunted by exercise, focus on keeping active in daily life. It is easy to ask your grandchildren to put the kettle on when you want a cup of tea or to let your son or daughter do your grocery shopping, but in allowing this kind of behavior, you are dramatically reducing your mobility. Granted as your body gets older it becomes more difficult to take part in active movements, but simple things such as walking to the kitchen or taking a trip to the grocery store are small tasks that if you are mindful of their benefits, are a part of your resistance of old age. Just because your body is getting older, it doesn’t mean you have to give up!
Focus on the benefits of exercises for seniors in your daily life
The most rewarding part of beginning a fitness routine is noticing the difference it makes in the rest of your life. Even if you begin exercising with a few simple stretches while seated or a short walk around the block, you’ll notice an improvement in how you feel as you go about your day.
Let’s take a look at our daily life activities; things that if you become more aware of while doing, guarantee you will feel like a healthy senior.
House cleaning. Seemingly a boring task; the only benefit is a cleaner house, right? Wrong! Cleaning your house involves a series of active movements. Vacuuming, polishing, tidying – these all increase mobility. Some of you may feel too frail or weak to zip round the house and have cleaned in a few hours, so take time out of the equation. Try putting on some music and slow down. Why not take your time and dedicate a day to making your house feel fresh and clean again. Through activities like polishing your brass, you are exercising your arms, keeping your muscles flexible and strong. Vacuuming is great as it increases mobility.
Lifting grandchildren. Instead of worrying about stretches for seniors, think about the benefits of daily life opportunities. Playing and staying active with grandchildren is a fun way to exercise and rewarding in more ways than one. Each time you lift your grandchildren or bump them on your knee, you are building muscle mass. Who needs weight lifting when you have grand-kids seeking attention?
Carrying groceries. Obviously we’re not talking about carrying tons of heavy bags round the block, but if you are shopping with a family member or friend, you can help out too. Just carrying a few small bags maintains a healthy lifestyle. Just because the body is becoming old, it doesn’t mean we need everything to be done for us.
Running errands. In this day and age, it is have things done for you. But it’s this behavior that leads to stronger seniors becoming elderly. Instead of asking your son or daughter to go the post office for you – go with them. Take action and do things for yourself. It is important not to restrict your movements to your own home – to be a healthy and active senior; you must step outside your comfort zone. If you fear falling or tripping over, take trips outdoors with a friend or family member; over time, it will boost your confidence. Fresh air is good for you and walking will not only keep you flexible and build strength, it will improve your overall sense of well-being.
Following these few simple steps, becoming more aware of your lifestyle choices will automatically give you drive to bigger and better things. We don’t have to let old age get in our way. The more we sit at home allowing others to do things for us, the quicker the world will pass us by, the less mobile we will become and the older we will feel. In a material world, where things are so easily achieved without moving, it is easy to give in to old age. But in doing this, you are restricting your lifespan.
The ironic thing is it doesn’t take much. Seeking the life of a healthy senior, you can be active in all that you do. We’re not suggesting you take up running or hard core exercise; just be mindful that the simple tasks in life are more beneficial than you think.
Once you take in to account your daily regimes as a benefit, you will start to seek more action. The more active you are at home the more confident you will become outdoors. And who knows, that fitness class for seniors you were dreaming about might not seem so daunting after all!Google+