6 Great Workouts for Seniors to Stay Fit and Active
As we age we begin to lose strength and bone density. We can eat all the protein we want and take lots of calcium, but there’s nothing as beneficial as exercise can be for us. Incorporating some daily activity into your routine is essential for your long-term health.
Consider these great ways to get active:
This is the easiest and quickest way for you to begin a fitness program. Start with a lap around the block and work on building up your distance. You can take your dog with you if you have one and he’ll surely appreciate it. Try listening to an audiobook or your favorite tunes to keep your mind engaged. Even better, invite a friend or neighbor and set walking dates to get together so that you both stay on track.
Pro Tip: Buy a pedometer and track your steps. Try to increase your range over time.
While not a heavily cardiovascular activity, yoga has great benefits for strength, flexibility and balance. This is especially important as we progress into our seventies and eighties, when the ability to balance is important for walking and staying mobile. It’s also powerfully relaxing and lowers anxiety.
Working out in water decreases stress on our joints. Throughout our lives we are often hard on our joints by running on concrete and participating in other joint-stressing activities like skiing. The buoyancy of water aerobics will let you get your heart rate up without putting any further strain on your body. It’s also a great exercise if you don’t like to get hot and sweaty.
Group Aerobics Classes
Senior sports and fitness classes are enjoyable for a number of reasons. You can burn a few calories but you can also meet new people, make friends and enjoy some stress relief. Some Medicare Advantage plans incorporate groups like Silver Sneakers or Silver and Fit into their plans. Members can use their ID card to get a free membership at any gym in the network. Check to see if your plan includes a membership to a gym near you.
While cardiovascular exercises are good for our hearts and lungs, strength training is what preserves our bones. Incorporating some light weight lifting into your routine even just twice a week can significantly improve your strength by building muscle.
Pro Tip: If this is your first time in a new gym, invest in one or two sessions with a trainer so that you can get familiar with the workout machines and other fitness equipment. This will prevent injuries and just make you feel more comfortable in the gym as well.
Weightlifting also helps balance so you can remain independent. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that simple activities like standing up from a low chair or carrying in the groceries will become easier over time.
Competitive Individual Sports
If you have a competitive streak, you’ll love playing tennis or golf where you can get in some physical activity but enjoy the challenge go your opponents as well. Set a goal, such as playing twice a week, and reward yourself with a new outfit or sweet treat for sticking to the schedule. If you golf, skip the golf cart for the extra benefits of walking.
There’s Something For Everyone
No matter which form of activity you start with, you are sure to soon reap the benefits. Try to mix it up with a few different activities every week so that you have variety which will continue to help you enjoy getting fit.