Why Exercise is Important for Seniors

Published by FitWatch

To live an active, healthy lifestyle, as a young child or into your 90’s, you need to get proper exercise.  While many seniors stop exercising due to various physical constraints, it is actually more important for older people to get regular workouts.  It’s also important that these workouts encompass the 4 different types of exercise seniors need.  They include:  strength training, endurance exercises, flexibility exercises, and balance exercises. Strength training As we age, our bodies begin to lose bone and muscle mass.  Loss of bone mass increases the risk for osteoporosis and larger, more serious breaks.  Loss of muscles mass makes us weaker, slower, and less able to do things.  A great way to prevent and perhaps even reverse some of the damage is to do regular strength training exercises.  This doesn’t have to involve big fancy equipment; you can use resistance bands or things you have around the house.  Just be sure to follow proper form to prevent injury.

Endurance exercises While some seniors find it easy to walk, run, or do other strenuous activities for a long period of time; others find they have difficulty just walking down the hallway.  For both types of people, it is important to participate in exercises that maintain or increase your endurance and stamina.  This could include walking, using cardio equipment, or even doing some gardening during the spring and summer.  Anything that makes you move and gets your blood pumping is good.  Aim for 30 minutes a day at least 3 to 4 days a week.  With regular exercise, you’ll find you can walk farther and faster, and do more during the day.

Flexibility exercises You may find it harder to do things now that were easy for you when you were younger.  Much of this is because our bodies lose their flexibility and become much more rigid.  Even the simple act of walking or opening a door may become a challenge.  You can combat this problem by pushing your flexibility.  These exercises can range from yoga to simple daily stretches; just as long as you keep stretching and moving your muscles and the rest of your body.

Balance Nothing can be more devastating to an older person than a serious injury, such as breaking a hip or dislocating a shoulder.  Many seniors who have a major accident never recover.  That’s why it’s important to exercise muscles to improve balance.  Yoga, Pilates, and anything else that helps strengthen your core muscles can be helpful. 

Even young people need to rest between workouts.  This is even more important for seniors.  The body needs time to rest and heal itself.  Without proper rest, you risk causing an injury.  You shouldn’t push yourself too hard with any exercise and remember to take time off between workouts. 

When starting any exercise program, you should consult your doctor first.  They can tell you if the exercises you choose are right for your body and may suggest something more appropriate. 

Whether you’re already fit or have never worked out before, today is the day to go get some exercise.

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