One of the best ways for seniors to maintain their health, stamina and energy is to incorporate some form of exercise into their daily routine. Exercise can boost metabolism, relieve stress, reduce the risk of heart disease, improve flexibility and balance, help stabilize blood pressure, and result in a better night’s sleep.
With so many benefits, we think it’s important for seniors to know that age does not have to be a detriment when it comes to physical fitness. While there are many ways to get moving, Home Care Assistance of Oklahoma lists our 3 favorite and easy ways for seniors to add a little extra activity in their day:
- Take a Walk – If you have been sedentary for a while, start slowly. Walking is a great way to begin a fitness program. You can start out by walking for 10 or 15 minutes twice a day and gradually increase your distance and speed. Be sure you warm up by doing a few simple stretches and keep a water bottle handy as it’s important to stay hydrated when engaging in exercise. You may also want to consider walking with a partner, whether a friend or family member or a professional Oklahoma caregiver. Studies show exercise is more likely to be carried out when a social element is added.
- Join a Yoga Class to Improve Flexibility and Balance – Yoga consists of a series of stretches, poses, and breathing exercises that can be adapted to any level of ability. Range of motion and flexibility are vital to completing tasks such as reaching for objects, driving, and simple household tasks. As with any exercise program, start out slowly and build your strength and endurance. Start out with a class or two each week. Postures should not feel uncomfortable. If you feel discomfort, ask the instructor to recommend an adaptive pose for you.
- Fitness Training From a Wheelchair – If you are confined to a wheelchair or have other physical limitations as the result of arthritis or Parkinson’s, you can still add exercise into your daily routine. Exercise programs can be adapted to accommodate people who are in a wheelchair or are unable to stand for long periods of time. For instance, upper body strength training and cardio exercises can be done from a chair and personalized to meet the needs of each participant.
Be sure to talk things over with your doctor before starting an exercise program and discuss any limitations you may have. They will be able to address these limitations and can provide advice and recommendations for which exercises would best match your abilities.
Whatever exercise program you choose, be sure to keep it interesting and fun so you will enjoy yourself. Gardening, swimming, bowling, and even hide-and- seek with the grandkids are great ways to stay active. Just remember to listen to your body, take it easy and don’t over-do it!