Do you want to know how older people exercise? Many of us get a lot less exercise as we get older. Chronic pain, mobility issues, and lack of energy can all make physical activity a lot harder. However, that doesn’t mean that we should give up on exercise later in life. Staying active can prevent our health from deteriorating faster. Everything from your joints to your heart relies on physical activity to stay healthy. On top of our physical health, it’s also important for our mental health to stay active.
But just what types of exercises should you be doing as an older adult? In most cases, you want something that’s going to get you moving without putting too much strain on your body (otherwise you could do more harm than good). Below are a few great ways to exercise as an older adult.
Go easy on your joints with low-impact exercises
According to WebMD, more than 50% of people over 65 have some kind of joint pain. This joint pain can make it tough to carry out certain exercises. In some cases, certain exercises may even aggravate the joints and make them more inflamed.
Avoid ‘high-impact’ exercises. These include activities that involve lots of running and jumping.
It’s much safer to stick to low-impact exercises. A few great examples of low-impact exercises include:
Try static exercises to improve core strength
Static exercises typically involve holding a certain position for an extended period. This can help to exercise muscles without even having to do any movement.
Such static exercises are a big part of activities like yoga. A few static exercises to try include:
This list of static exercises offers a few more examples. Make sure to listen to your body when doing these exercises – a slight muscle burn is okay, but you shouldn’t be experiencing pain in joints or muscle cramps.
Learn how to exercise from your armchair
Certain mobility issues can force us to lead a sedentary lifestyle. But so long as you still have some movement in your limbs, you can still exercise while seated. This could help to prevent weight gain and all the health problems that come with it.
Such exercises include knee extensions, overhead presses, and seated rows. This page of Physio Ed. Fitness Classes have a whole section of armchair exercises with videos on how to do them. These could be worth checking out if you’re looking for ways to stay fit while in a chair.
Keep up your strength by lifting weights
Weight lifting can be important in older age. Even though gaining muscle may not be as easy, lifting weights can help you maintain muscle mass and improve mobility. All in all, it could be very important for maintaining your strength, which many people who don’t exercise quickly lose in older age.
You can exercise in a gym, or you can buy weights to work out with at home. A set of dumbbells is all you need, although you can try using all kinds of other weights. Try to start with light weights and build yourself up to weights that you’re comfortable with. Once you start feeling pain (particularly non-muscular pain), stop lifting to avoid causing yourself an injury.
Consider finding a social form of exercise
Finding the motivation to exercise when you’re older can be difficult because you don’t have as much energy. Some people find that they are much more motivated when exercising with other people.
Going to an exercise class could be one way to do this. A benefit of exercise classes is that you can make friends and then spur each other on to attend the class if one of you isn’t feeling motivated. Exercise classes could include yoga classes, spin classes, or pilates classes.
The Last Word on How to Exercise as You Get Older
Alternatively, you could try exercising with a partner, a friend, or a family member. This could be something as simple as going for a walk together or going on a leisurely bike ride. You’ll enjoy socializing together and you’ll stay active at the same time.
Simply planning active days out with friends and family could be enough to keep you fit. Don’t spend all weekend in front of the TV – anything that encourages you to get out of the house can get you moving and could be good for your health. Seeing friends and family is also good for your mental health – especially if you live alone.