Regular exercise is vital at every stage of life, and it can be especially crucial for seniors as they enter retirement. Unfortunately, aging can cause muscle and joint strength to decrease over time, making life harder for seniors overall. However, there are ways that a senior fitness plan can address this issue and help seniors live a healthy lifestyle at home or in a retirement community.
How Important is Senior Fitness?
There are many reasons why a person may want to stay in shape, but it can make daily life easier for seniors and slow the effects of aging. For example, brain function decreases as we age, and there’s an increased risk for certain diseases. A senior fitness plan can slow the progression of these concerns and help seniors enjoy every aspect of their retirement.
What Exercise is Best for Senior Fitness?
Seniors need to do exercises that provide an ample amount of physical activity while avoiding unnecessary strain. There are hundreds of different exercises that work every part of the body, but not all are ideal for seniors. Fortunately, there are many low-impact workouts that seniors can take advantage of to meet their fitness goals.
Aerobic exercise is any cardio that gets your heart beating and body moving. Many low-intensity aerobic exercises are perfect for seniors, including swimming, walking, and cycling. These activities are highly adaptable and allow seniors to adjust their intensity based on their willingness to put more effort into their fitness.
Yoga is an excellent way for anyone to improve their balance and strength, and it can make a fine addition to a senior fitness program. According to the National Council of Aging, hospitals admit an older adult to an emergency room for a fall-related injury every 11 minutes. Every 19 minutes, a senior dies from a fall. Yoga and low-impact chair yoga help seniors strengthen everything from their core to their legs, improving their sense of balance and lessening the chance of a fall-related injury.
Muscle loss can lead to various health issues for seniors, making it challenging to move around the house or a retirement community. Bodyweight workouts can be an integral part of senior fitness, as we can do them without additional equipment. Some great bodyweight workouts for seniors include step-ups, chair squats, and lying hip bridges.
Exercises to Avoid for Senior Fitness
While seniors need to get an ample amount of exercise, there are some exercises that seniors should avoid. These workouts are high-impact and high-intensity, putting seniors at risk for avoidable health complications. Therefore, when developing a senior fitness plan, it’s vital to exclude the following exercises at all costs.
As muscle mass decreases with age, it becomes harder for seniors to lift heavyweights. If a senior attempts weightlifting with weights that are more than they can handle, not only could it put a strain on their heart, but it could cause significant physical injury. No senior wants to worry about a torn muscle or broken bone during retirement, so it’s best to avoid equipment that could increase the risk of these injuries, like a bench press or squat rack.
Aerobics can be a helpful form of exercise for seniors, but there’s a certain point where too much cardio can be harmful to a senior’s fitness. Intense running can put a lot of stress on a senior’s hips and knees, joints that become increasingly vulnerable with age. If a senior has issues with their heart or lung health, it could also put too much strain on those organs and lead to more complications down the line.
How Senior Fitness Promotes a Happy Retirement
One of the great things about exercise is that it can be a communal and social experience, making it great for seniors who want to connect with their retirement community. Whether it’s during a yoga session or a brisk walk, seniors can use their fitness to improve their physical health and forge strong relationships with those around them all at the same time. If you’re a senior who wants to take control of your physical health, start a senior fitness plan today to begin your journey towards a healthy and happy future.
About the Author
Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.