Although we all understand the benefits of daily exercise, seniors in particular may need some additional measures and precautions before engaging in a new or developed exercise regiment. As a natural part of aging, the organs and joints are slowly deteriorating; although it may be too late for a complete body overhaul, there are still many benefits to regular exercise through strength training, endurance, building stamina, stretching, and resistance. Seniors can benefit from increased recovery abilities after exertion, and enjoy a wellness-oriented lifestyle just from pursuing a moderate and active exercise regiment.
Seniors should not be afraid to exercise, but instead learn to incorporate exercise into their daily routine at moderate levels. Almost all exercise types can be enjoyed, including running, swimming, biking, stretching, and weight training. A variety of exercise patterns throughout the week is ideal, as it will encourage all muscle groups and organs to work at different rates and levels. The idea is not to reach an ultimate goal, but instead to establish a regular and comfortable routine.
Resistance exercises that use the body and no additional weights are ideal, as this builds strength and resilience in a natural and gentle way. Examples of resistance exercises may include yoga postures, Pilates, and other natural stretching techniques.
Balance and flexibility are greatly increased with stretching exercises. Stretching on a daily basis can help keep joints and muscles flexible, but they will not build endurance or contribute significantly to cardiovascular health. The additional benefit of stretching is the ability to open up the lungs and encourage deep breathing patterns. This not only helps the body detoxify naturally, but helps to keep pain to a minimum, reducing the risk of minor aches and pains.
Any weight bearing exercises should be moderate and well controlled. No jerky movements or weights out of normal ranges are appropriate, as many seniors may undergo stress fractures, natural bone fractures, or increased pain in the joints as a result. Do consult with a physician or personal trainer for the best exercises and positions, and make note of special techniques and training needed.
Endurance exercises are primarily cardiovascular, and can include running, walking, jogging, swimming, and biking. Anything that gets the heart pumping for at least 30 minutes can be considered an endurance exercise, and the amount per week to engage in these activities will vary by each person. Endurance exercises significantly improve cardiovascular health, and are encouraged for a healthy lifestyle. Being outdoors is a great benefit to many seniors, and taking the time to breathe deeply and truly enjoy the moment is a great opportunity through endurance exercise!
Precautionary measures for health concerns can include monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and vision. Any blurry vision, aches and pains in the chest area, or muscle and joint conditions need to be addressed as soon as possible. Slow down when necessary, and enjoy moderation in any and all exercises. A sensible and balanced diet can affect performance, and side effects of prescriptions do need to be taken into account. Variety of exercise is the key to long-term health and vitality, and can contribute greatly to a senior’s healthy lifestyle. Seniors can get the most out of their exercise regiment by understanding their strengths and weaknesses, and adjusting their workouts accordingly.