How To Stay Healthy and Fit as a Senior
As we age, we tend to become less nimble than we were in our youth. But that shouldn’t keep us from working out or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In fact, if anything, staying active becomes more important as we age. It helps us manage pain symptoms, boost our energy levels, and will help slow the aging process. Moreover, regular exercise is as beneficial for your mind, memory and mood as it is for your body.
While aches, pains, limited mobility and even fear of falls can deter seniors, a regular workout regimen is of the utmost importance for staying healthy for many years to come. Incorporating the following suggestions into a steady exercise routine can work wonders for both the body and the mind.
The 4 Building Blocks of Fitness
What exercises should seniors be doing to stay healthy and safe? Experts recommend these 4 types of exercises for seniors.
If you have started to notice aching or pains in your hands or feet when you try to reach out, pick up or lift heavy objects, your body is losing flexibility. Some basic and easy everyday exercises to increase flexibility include yoga and Pilates as they allow free movement and stretching of muscles. This should result in an increased range of motion in both your arms as well as your legs.
Improper posture is the most common cause of injuries, slips and falls in seniors. It often results in life-‐long injuries including fractures, paralysis or complete loss of movement. A few basic exercise practices, such as Tai Chi, yoga and other posture exercises, can greatly improve your gait, balance and reduce the chance of falls.
Exercises that help build muscles come under this heading. Regular strength training helps in delaying the rate at which one’s bones and muscles deteriorate. Some highly recommended exercises for seniors include weight lifting, starting from lightweight dumbbells, bicep curls, chest presses, lunges, squats, and tricep extensions. All these will help prevent loss of bone mass and improve speed and balance.
Endurance exercises involve all those physical workouts that help pump up your heart rate and make you sweat. They usually involve swimming, bike-‐riding, climbing a flight of stairs, dancing or brisk walking. Over time, they help reduce fatigue and shortness of breath, making it easier to accomplish everyday chores on your own.
Some Safety Tips to Remember when Exercising:
- Always remember to warm up with proper stretching.
- Ensure that you take in a lot of fluid unless your doctor has prescribed otherwise.
- Always start slow.
- When performing stretching exercises, don’t hold your breath as it may cause your blood pressure to shoot up.
- If exercising makes you feel really tired or hurts, stop immediately and consult your doctor.
Keep in mind that exercise alone is not enough; a proper diet is a must, too. Maintain healthy eating including all the essential nutrients your body needs. A well-‐balanced diet reduces the risks of developing any chronic deficiencies and health conditions. It is best to limit consumption of saturated and trans-‐fats, processed sugar and salt.
At Masonicare, our senior living communities offer regular exercise sessions and many activities designed to get our residents up and moving! Exercise is always easier to stick with if you join a group to support your efforts. Our residents can also enjoy our flexible dining programs that offer a healthy selection of meals.
To learn more about Masonicare’s senior living communities, call our HelpLine at (888) 679-9997, or visit our website at www.masonicare.org.