July 2nd, 2018
Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau famously said, “a feeble body weakens the mind.” Preventing the body from becoming feeble is even more important for seniors, who may already be dealing with diminishing cognitive issues. So a balanced fitness program is imperative for maintaining a healthy body-mind balance, and therefore overall well-being.
The benefits of exercise include:
*Blood pressure, body weight, and cholesterol level control
*Reduced risk of hardened arteries, heart attack, and stroke
*Lower likelihood of osteoporosis and injuries from falls
*Better chance for prolonging an independent lifestyle
Just keep in mind that, if you’ve been less than “physically active,” you should start your exercise program slowly. Walking for just 5 or 10 minutes at a time on several days each week is a great way to gradually begin building your endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. And always consult a doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.
There are four basic fitness areas that should be the focus of any comprehensive exercise program – for any age group:
Any activity that increases your heart rate can help here, and if you’re aged 65 and older the CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. The best aerobic activities include:
Experts say that even small changes to your overall muscle strength can have a huge impact on your life because most everyday activities – such as carrying groceries, climbing stairs, and getting up out of a chair – require muscle strength.
*Use small weights (1 and 2-pound dumbbells) to start, with 10 to 15 repetitions.
*Weightlifting exercises include bicep curls, triceps extensions & chest presses.
*In place of weights, try using your own body weight to provide resistance for lunges, squats, and modified push-ups.
Every year, 2.5 million older Americans are treated in emergency rooms for injuries caused by falls, and even minor injuries can have serious consequences. Basic low-impact exercises like yoga and help improve both balance and flexibility.
Here is a simple exercise that can help maintain balance:
If you’ve noticed that basic activities, like getting dressed or reaching for objects on high shelves, aren’t as easy as they used to be, you could benefit from some daily stretching.
*Warm up for 3-to-5 minutes before stretching by walking or simply marching in place.
*Slowly move your body into each stretch, holding the pose for at least 10 seconds.
*Continue breathing throughout the entire stretch.
Whether you’re 9 or 93, fitness is – and should be – a personal matter. But as you get older, it’s even more important to be able to exercise where, when, and how you want. Flexible gym memberships can make it easier for maintaining health, and national programs such as SilverSneakers offer free gym memberships at more than 14,000 gyms and fitness centers across the U.S.
For more information, visit https://www.silversneakers.com/learn/gym-fitness/.
Finally, here are a few tips for keeping you excited about staying healthy and strong: