Physical fitness is an important factor to consider at any age. But as people age, staying fit becomes even more important. Exercise has many important benefits for older adults including disease prevention, clarity of thought and decreased chances of injuries from falling.
Not every kind of exercise is ideal for a person as they get older. Aging joints, decreased muscle function and reduced cardiovascular function can make some types of exercise detrimental or even dangerous. Regardless of whether you have been a fitness aficionado for years or whether you are just deciding to take on a routine, finding the right kind of exercise for your current physical state is essential.
People don’t often think of strength training when it comes to older adults, but muscle strength is key in avoiding the situation in which daily activities become too strenuous. Remaining strong can help you stay independent longer and with less effort.
If you have been engaging in strength-building programs previously, then weight training and bodyweight exercises can be ideal. Bodyweight training builds functional strength and also has the benefit of not requiring any equipment so it can easily be done in your own home.
If you are new to strength exercises, fitness bands are a great way to add resistance to your routine. Bands can be purchased very cheaply and they come in varying levels of resistance making them perfect for beginners. And if your muscle strength is low, you can always go through the movements of any weight or fitness band routine using no weights or resistance at all until you are stronger.
Be sure to start slow to avoid injuries. You might want to investigate supplements that support joint and muscle strength and if you do overdo, something along the lines of red light therapy may be useful in recovery. If you’re wondering does red light therapy work, there are multiple studies that show that it does positively affect regenerative processes.
As people age, many of the body processes begin to slow down. Aerobic or endurance training can help you maximize your lung function as well as your cardiovascular health.
Really anything that increases your heart rate and makes you breathe more vigorously can be considered an aerobic exercise. The simple act of deciding to take the stairs instead of the elevator or choosing to park your car a little further away from your destination than you need to can increase your endurance.
Fast walking and jogging are obvious choices here, but if you have issues with your joints they may not be the right choice for you. Instead, you could try biking or swimming. Swimming is a wonderful full-body exercise that is also aerobic and low impact and is a great option for those who may be having balance issues. Aim to get a total of about two hours of aerobic exercise a week. Fifteen-minute increments are great.
Balance is something that can be significantly affected by the aging process. A loss of balance for anyone is detrimental, but falls can be especially harmful to an older person.
Perhaps the best program for a senior to adopt for balance is the practice of Tai Chi. This ancient practice is all about balance but has the added benefit of being meditative, and placing almost no impact on the joints. You can do Tai Chi at home, but finding a group to practice with can add a social aspect to the exercise as well.
Muscle and joint stiffness can increase with age and affect mobility. You can work on your flexibility with simple stretches that you add to your aerobic or strength training routine. Yoga can be beneficial, but it is important to undertake a very gentle form of yoga with a good teacher that can make sure your form is correct.
Maintaining physical fitness as you age is essential to staying independent and active. Even those who haven’t exercised before can experience the benefits of exercise. Find something you enjoy and stick with it.