As we age, our bodies begin to change. Muscles become weaker, and the balance becomes an issue. This is a dangerous combination when traversing through life, so older adults need to be proactive about exercise and fitness. Although this is a delicate balance, it’s never too late to start getting into shape. By taking the time now to strengthen your body and mind, you’re making sure that as we age, we’ll be able to stay active and healthy for years to come. Safe Exercises for Seniors are easy exercises anyone can enjoy at any age, but seniors can enjoy these 5 Safe Exercises for Seniors and not worry about getting injured. Enjoy.
Why Seniors Should Exercise
Proper exercise can play a pivotal role in ensuring that older adults can live their best life. Exercising helps build healthy muscles, aids in weight loss, and relieves stress. It also strengthens the nervous system, essential for everyday movements like getting out of bed or walking across the room. It can provide stability and balance as well as prevent falls and other accidents.
On average, older adults who exercise report feeling less stressed, more confident, and happier than those who do not take care of themselves. Exercise also provides improved sleep quality and improved mood states.
Tips to Keep Safe When Seniors Exercise
As we age, our bodies become more and more susceptible to injury. Between falling and muscle weakness, it’s easy for older adults to pull a muscle or worse. Taking some precautions will help you remain as safe as possible when starting an exercise routine:
1. Warm up/cool down
Experts recommend that active movements preceded by five minutes of warm-up exercises to prevent straining inactive muscles. Stretching can also help prevent injuries by increasing flexibility.
2. Wear the right shoes
Make sure that you’re wearing supportive athletic shoes at all times when exercising. Avoid flip-flops or other loose-fitting shoes as your feet are more likely to slip and cause a misstep.
3. Gait belts
This device is meant to attach to a treadmill or exercise machine for support and has been shown to reduce the risk of falling by 80 percent. If you’re going to be exercising on your own, make sure that there will always be someone else around in case something happens so you can get the help you need.
4. Consult a doctor
It’s always a good idea to consult your physician before starting an exercise routine, even if it doesn’t seem strenuous. In some cases, your age may affect what types of exercises are safe for you, so the guidance of a medical professional is crucial.
Exercising with Special Health Considerations
Some special conditions may prevent older adults from being able to engage in strenuous exercise. This includes chronic medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, frequent falls/injuries, and depression.
Before starting an exercise routine with one of these diagnoses, it’s vital to consult your physician to determine if it’s safe for you. As always, warm-up and cool down with stretching exercises, wear supportive shoes, and ensure that someone is around if something happens. Here is a great video with some recommended warm-up routines.
Seniors who are obese should be aware of the increased risk of blood clots even during light exercise like walking. For this reason, seniors who are obese should always consult a doctor before starting an exercise regimen.
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that uses stretching and breathing techniques to improve flexibility, tone muscles, and increase balance. Many yoga poses are practiced while sitting on mats or chairs. However, it may be adapted for older adults depending on their ability level. Those new to yoga might start with simple breathing techniques like deep breathing, breath retention, and Ujjayi (Victorious Breath).
Water provides resistance to make swimming an excellent exercise for working the muscles without putting strain on the joints. A swim workout can achieve many fitness goals, including endurance training, strength building, increased heart rate, and fat burning. The water also allows freedom of movement, so the older person is not restricted by gravity as they would be when exercising on land.
Walking is considered one of the best exercises because it can be done by almost anyone and requires no special equipment or training. It can significantly benefit those who are trying to lose weight or maintain their current weight. It can be done indoors or outdoors, alone or with a group. As long as the intensity is suitable for that individual’s fitness level, walking is safe and beneficial.
4. Tai Chi
Tai chi uses graceful movements to increase strength and improve balance and flexibility while lowering stress levels. The slow-motion exercises often look more like a dance than an exercise routine. This exercise is thought to have a calming effect on the mind, body, and spirit. As with yoga, there are many variations of tai chi to be adapted to older people according to their level of fitness and abilities.
5. Weight lifting
Many seniors may not realize that weight training can help improve their muscle strength and balance. And, weight training is just one of the options that can be done to strengthen muscles.
Weight training has long been considered part of an athlete’s regime for building strength and endurance. Although studies have shown that weight lifting can help seniors remain fit, many seniors are afraid they will hurt themselves if they lift weights.
Seniors can exercise in many ways to stay healthy and active. The four safe exercises listed here are all gentle on the joints but benefit people of any age or fitness level. You’ll notice that they all involve some form of mindfulness – whether it’s deep breathing, mindful movements like yoga poses, or tai chi movements with slow motion. These types of exercises will help you focus your mind while improving your body at the same time!