Planning an Exercise Routine for Seniors
Getting older doesn’t mean having to give up your active lifestyle. Physical activity can help seniors improve their health in a number of ways. Regular exercise is proven to boost mood, brain power, and can even help you live independently longer.
Whether you’re new to exercise or have simply been inactive for a period of time, this exercise guide can help you get moving toward a healthier lifestyle.
Starting an Exercise Routine
Be sure to start slowly if you are new to physical activity. You may even wish to enlist the help of a personal trainer, who can show you the proper form necessary for exercises. The type of exercises you do will depend on your ability level, preferences, and any preexisting health conditions. Different types of physical activity include:
- Aerobic exercise: Aim for 30-60 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise, or 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous exercise, depending on your health and abilities. Exercises should be low-impact and not place strain on the joints. These include walking, water fitness classes, dance fitness classes, or riding the stationary bike.
- Strength training: Stair climbing, resistance band exercises, or dumbbell lifting can target the major muscle groups and increase bone health. Try to incorporate strength training exercise for at least 30 minutes, two days a week.
- Flexibility and Balance: Incorporate stretching into your workouts, and if you are able, practice balancing exercises done with your eyes closed. Tai Chi and yoga classes are excellent for improving your balance and increasing your flexibility. An added benefit is that they decrease stress levels.
Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to senior health. These tips can help you exercise in a healthy and safe way:
- Be sure to warm up and cool down. Walking for five minutes before a cardiovascular workout can reduce the risk of injury.
- Hydrate properly, drinking water before and after your workouts.
- Avoid working out if you are sick, or in extremely hot or cold weather.
- If you experience dizziness, chest pain, a rapidly beating heart, or severe shortness of breath, stop exercising immediately.
With these tips, you will be able to receive the many benefits that come with regular exercise. As with any program, be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.