Exercise is important for people of all ages, yet many senior citizens don’t always get the exercise they need to stay healthy. While it is true that people tend to slow down as they get older, there are still plenty of easy exercises that seniors can do to stay healthy and feel young even after they’ve moved into a retirement community. Many senior care facilities and senior apartments provide exercise programs for residents, but here are some things you can do on your own.
As always, be sure to talk to your doctor about developing a fitness program that works with your health needs.
Stretching exercises don’t typically increase your strength and endurance on their own, but they will usually improve your range of motion and give you more freedom of movement. They are also crucial if you plan to move on to more strenuous physical activities such as running or strength-training exercises. Even the gentle range-of-motion exercises that are often incorporated into senior care services are effective in improving one’s flexibility and overall health. There are plenty of stretching exercises that your doctor or physical therapist can recommend, but here are just a couple of easy stretches you can do on your own.
If you want to begin with stretching your lower body before a run or other aerobic activity, start by placing your right hand on the back of a chair to steady yourself. Bend your left leg behind you and grab it with your left hand. Lift up your foot until your thigh is as perpendicular with the floor as possible. Hold it for about 30 seconds, which should give you time to feel the stretch in your thigh. Repeat the stretch with your other leg.
To stretch your upper body before a workout without doing anything too strenuous, try standing with your feet shoulder-width apart with your arms by your sides. Clasp your arms behind your back to pull your shoulders back, and hold the pose for 30 seconds. This is an easy exercise that is also good at relieving shoulder pain and stiffness.
Going for a light jog is always a good aerobic exercise, but it may be too hard for you if you have arthritis or other joint problems. Instead of running on pavement or a treadmill, consider a low-impact aerobic exercise such as bicycling or swimming. Bicycling gets you to move your legs as if you are running , but since your feet aren’t hitting the ground it is much easier on your knees and hips. Swimming is also an excellent low-impact activity that improves your strength and endurance. Some senior care facilities and retirement communities have swimming pools either on-site or nearby, so feel free to make the most of it.
Awhile back, we put together a short video demonstrating a few balance exercises for seniors. It’s not as crystal clear as most newer videos, but is still does a good job of showing a few helpful exercises.
Strength training is just as important for seniors as it is for everybody else, and it can be done without lifting excessively heavy weights. Body positioning and the number of reps are far more important than what you can lift, so feel free to stick to lighter weights when you go to your retirement community fitness center. When you lift weights, remember to breathe as you lift and keep your movements smooth. Do not lock your joints when you get a weight into position, and avoid making jerky movements. Talk to your doctor, personal trainer or physical therapist for more tips on strength training.
A Final Word
Even though it is important to keep exercising and stay in shape, you still need to do it safely. Talk to your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough for the exercises you wish to do, and stop if you feel any pain or serious discomfort. A little soreness is normal at first, but don’t push yourself past your limits or comfort zone.
Staying in shape into your senior years can do wonders for how you feel, how you look and your overall health. Don’t let old age slow you down. Consider a senior living community that makes it easy for you to stay as active as you want as you age, like Concordia Lutheran Ministries. Our retirement communities go above and beyond the minimum standard for senior care, making it easy for you to get and stay fit as you age. Don’t just take our word for it. Call us today at 724-352-1571 or visit/message us online to schedule a tour of a senior living facility near you and discover what makes our senior care communities among the top in Western Pennsylvania.
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