What are the best exercises for seniors?
Pursuing a healthy lifestyle as you age means learning about the best exercises for seniors. Fortunately there are plenty of fun options to consider as you start a new fitness routine. According to the National Institute of Health there are four main types of exercises:
- Endurance or aerobic exercises improve cardiovascular health
- Strength exercises improve your muscles' power
- Balance exercises keep you on your feet and help prevent falls and
- Flexibility exercises help you to stay mobile and limber.
The best exercises for seniors focus on one or more of these types. You should try to incorporate all four kinds into your routine and use variety to your advantage by changing things up to keep your workout interesting.
Exercises to try on your own or with a partner
Doing an exercise you love is a great way to spend your free time and could even become a new hobby. Starting small with exercises that you can do on your own is a huge step in a healthy direction. These simple (and safe) exercises are easily modified to enjoy with a partner. Exercising with a friend or your spouse can be a fun way to spend quality time together while making progress toward your health goals.
- Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood
Walking is a great way to get moving. While on a brisk walk your heart rate will increase improving your cardiovascular health. According to the Mayo Clinic walking can even help alleviate arthritis pain. Bring a friend with you to enjoy some conversation as you walk.
- Use resistance bands
Resistance bands are inexpensive safe lightweight stretchy strips of latex you can use to increase your strength. AARP notes that they protect your bones from osteoporosis and injury. Resistance bands give your muscles a workout without bringing heavy weights or complicated machines into the equation. You can use resistance bands almost anywhere - even on the couch while you're watching TV - and many resistance band exercises can be easily modified to enjoy with a partner.
- Try chair exercises
Seated and standing chair exercises incorporate a chair for stability. There are many types of chair exercises to try with benefits ranging from increased strength to improved flexibility. The Arthritis Foundation says that chair yoga can be a good way to relax and is great for people with limited mobility.
Staying committed to working out can be hard especially if you haven't exercised in a long time. Working out with a group of other people who are trying to get and stay healthy can keep you committed to sticking with it.
- Join a water aerobics class
Swimming is one of the best exercises for seniors. It's low-impact builds strength and improves balance. According to AARP exercising in water can help seniors recovering from an injury or surgery. Swimming in a group setting adds socializing as a benefit which can improve your mood.
- Try non-impact boxing
Boxing (without the physical contact) is a great full-body workout that builds strength endurance and flexibility. A non-impact boxing class like Reid Health's Baby Boomer Fight Club is a fun and effective way for seniors to exercise.
- Take a fall-prevention class
Fall prevention training can improve your strength, balance, overall health, and minimize your risk of falling.
Dedicating some time to finding the best exercises for seniors and building a fun workout will keep you motivated and help you stay limber fit and healthy. But before you make any dramatic changes to your physical activity have a conversation with a doctor. Together you can design a routine that works best for you.