Everyone should get some regular exercise, but proper fitness is especially important for people over 50. As we age, the risk of serious health increases.
As our age number continues to go up, we’re more likely to suffer from arthritis and diabetes, as our muscle tone we once had quickly begins to soften without proper exercise to keep it up. Staying active as possible is one of the best ways to stay flexible, disease-free and healthy as we get older.
Seniors need to be more aware of the risks of exercise, too. Older joints are more prone to swelling and arthritis, and bones can be more brittle. You can get plenty of exercise though, and do it safely as long as you keep a few fitness tips in mind.
Fitness Tips for Seniors:
- Look for fun, low-impact exercises to minimize stress on the joints like the knees, hips, elbows and ankles. Walking is more low-impact than jogging or running. Dancing is more low-impact than running, as well, and can be a great deal of fun. Carefully dancing or gently walking in place indoors when the weather is bad can be a great, safe way to exercise.
- Look for exercises that increase flexibility and strength. Stretching is low-impact and can help with balance and flexibility, as well. Gentle yoga moves are also a good option for some people.
- Don’t forget strength training. You don’t have to pump iron to get in a good strength training workout. Using resistance bands, even while just sitting in a chair, can increase arm strength and flexibility. Simply pulling against the bands while holding an end in each hand, done while watching television, is great exercise. Or you can hook the bank under a foot and do curls or push your foot against it, which works both the leg muscles and the arms.
- Aerobic dancing can be fun and great exercise as long as you avoid the jumps and intense twisting movements. If you’re working out with a DVD or in a class, simply don’t jump when the instructor does. Make some other small movement instead.
- Most exercises can be adapted to be more low-impact if you find you enjoy a particular movement. A mini-trampoline, for instance, can actually be a great, safe workout if used properly, with no jumping necessary. If you don’t have balance issues, you can carefully step onto such a trampoline, hang onto the bar, and lightly bend the knees while pressing with the feet. You’ll be making a bouncing movement, without your feet ever leaving the surface of the trampoline. This is a great resistance exercise, as well as a cardiovascular one. If you enjoy this, do it only a couple of minutes at a time at first, until you’re sure you can tolerate it and maintain your balance after getting off.
- Consider water aerobics and exercise. This is one of the most low-impact forms of exercise available. The buoyancy of the water cushions the joints and makes the movements smooth. If arthritis is a problem that prevents you from enjoying other forms of exercise, then try working out in a pool by simply walking through the water or doing other movements.
There are a variety of other exercises that one can do, despite the age limit but don’t forget that safety should always be a prime concern.