By Erin Denstaedt, Senior Advisor at Concierge Care Advisors
If you are a senior and you are thinking about increasing your physical activity, you are heading in the right direction! Exercise can have physical, emotional and mental health benefits for people of all ages. Seniors often do not get the right amount of daily exercise. You will want your personal regimen to be effective in helping you meet your goals. At the same time, safety must be a priority. Exercising on a consistent basis is important for everyone, even those enjoying their retirement years. Here are some reasons that seniors especially need to get moving.
Exercise helps to increase balance
Of all injuries seniors experience, falls cause the most injuries so getting regular exercise can help with this serious problem. Exercise is a key part of improving balance and stability, which will lead to a decreased fall risk for seniors. There are many professionals that work specifically with seniors with many exercises focused specifically on improving balance and keeping or improving flexibility.
Exercise helps build endurance
The more you exercise, the better at it you become. Exercise will build up a senior’s endurance, allowing them to become stronger and healthier.
Exercise can improve life expectancy
Regular exercise will help seniors keep both their mind and their body healthy. This can equal a longer life expectancy and with a higher quality of life, since exercise lowers the risk of many major diseases, such as heart attacks, diabetes and cancer.
Exercise can decrease depression
When you exercise your body releases endorphins. Endorphins may help by alleviating the feelings of depression and anxiety, a common problem for seniors.
With those benefits in mind, it’s time to start your own exercise routine. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Talk to your primary care physician: They will likely want to do a physical exam and thoroughly discuss your medical history. It might also be necessary to visit your specialists.
Creating goals can help you to get and stay motivated: Whether it’s weight loss, mood enhancement, more energy, better balance or mobility, or all the above, be clear about what you want to achieve and keep it in mind as you work towards it.
Start off slowly: Patience is needed to avoid injuring or over exerting yourself. Five minutes of light cardio just a few times a week can help you get accustomed to building an increased level of activity without making you feel overwhelmed.
Over time, increase your workout time and add more variety: Your body will let you know what you are ready for. So, even if you feel ambitious, be reasonable.
Where to find help: There are many videos of yoga for seniors, chair yoga for those with less mobility, and other types of exercise programs online! If you are living in an assisted living community, they very often offer exercise classes for seniors that can help with all of the above, and sometimes also have a swimming pool for low impact and cardio workouts.
It’s never too late to get started on a fitness program. Staying fit can help seniors stay mobile, feel better, and live a happier life. When it comes to starting a fitness program it is always best to get some professional advice from your doctor, who knows your health history and can assist you with making a wise decision in starting a fitness regimen.