Senior Exercise Tips
Getting in a good workout doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym and lifting weights. For seniors, it’s all about adding movement and activity to your life, which will benefit overall wellness. In fact, regular exercise lowers your risk for a plethora of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity. But if you’re unsure or nervous how to start a fitness routine, check out these tips:
- Consult a doctor: Get an overall exam to find out what areas you should work out, as well as any exercises that you should avoid. For example, if you have thin bones, your doctor might recommend light weight training. You doctor will also help you consider health concerns that might affect your workouts. Diabetics, for example, may need to adjust meal plans and medication when setting a fitness schedule.
- Start slow: If you have been inactive for an extended period of time, you will need to build up your endurance and strength. Build up your routine little by little, like working out 10 minutes at a time, twice per day.
- Stick to a plan: You should work out 20 to 30 minutes per day, two to three times a week. This workout should include a warm up, light aerobic activity, followed by a weight-bearing exercise of some sort. Set goals for yourself, like increasing the amount of weight you use.
- Remember to stretch: This is especially important if you have arthritis, as regular stretching will help you retain a range of motion, as well as make your joints feel better. Try movements like shoulder circles, neck rolls, and leg swings.
- Listen to your body: Above all, your body will let you know when you are pushing it too hard. If you feel any sudden pain or shortness of breath, stop exercising and rest (and call your doctor if it becomes difficult to breathe).
- Switch it up: The same exercises day after day get dull at any age. Incorporate some variety into your routine, like adding a water aerobics class or yoga. Invite a friend to come with you, as exercise is always more fun with a friend.