As you grow old, it’s hard to keep up with the needed physical activities — your back begins to ache, you get tired from just a ten-minute walk, and you fall out of breath with basic exercises.
But despite the struggle, physical activity should still be done by seniors to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Being physically active is one of the most important things for your body to stay fit and function well in the long run.
The CDC 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends people to do weekly aerobics and muscle-strengthening to improve health. Experts say seniors should do a 30-minute moderate exercise at least five days a week and muscle-strengthening activities for two or more days a week.
Many older adults think that they are too weak to do such regular activities. But they are unaware that engaging in such a routine will encourage them to move more, improving their health and bringing them physical improvement.
Even if you are disabled or bound to a chair, there are still activities that will fit your special needs, such as chair yoga, chair aerobics, and lifting light weights while in a chair to improve your strength and cardiovascular health.
The Benefits of a Daily Exercise
Reducing the Risk of Illnesses
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exercise helps older people control their arthritis, maintain their muscle and bone strength, and certain major illnesses like colon cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases.
It can also help older people be more independent since it improves their strength and sense of balance, posture, and flexibility. You won’t need a cane nor someone to help you while you walk. Increasing your strength can also prevent you from accidents like a slip or fall.
Losing or Maintaining Weight
Metabolism slows down as you age, so maintaining a healthy weight may be quite challenging. Exercises may help your body to burn down calories and even gain some muscles. If you are content with your current weight, then doing physical activities can maintain that.
Boosting Your Mood
Exercise is known to increase levels of endorphins that are natural mood lifters. Endorphins combat stress hormones, improve brain function, help you multitask, and decrease the chances of memory loss.
As people age, they can also have more trouble sleeping hence why good long sleep is essential. Exercises can help you fall asleep faster and give you the quality sleep that your body needs.
How You Can Start Your Journey
Determine what activities you want to do
Some people like to engage their time with swimming; others may find yoga to be relaxing. You have to research and figure out what physical activities you want to engage in to feel motivated to do them regularly. You can try different activities until you end up with what you want. You would be surprised that there are many options you can do like biking, aerobics, yoga, golf, and squash.
Remember to ask your doctor for the perfect activities fit for you and your lifestyle. There might be mainstream workouts and activities that are not fit for seniors, like leg press, squats, rock climbing, and abdominal crunches. These can increase joint pain and worsen your posture.
Make friends during your exercise
This option may be limited and might not be the best idea because of the ongoing pandemic. If you’re living together with your family, why not take your grandchildren with you? You can all enjoy a walk at the park, a quick dip in a lake, or you can even bring them to take ballroom dancing classes with you. But if you are still isolated or in quarantine, you can call your friends online and do a yoga session or a five-minute cardio exercise online via Zoom or Google Meet.
Keep track of your activities
Taking notes of your physical activities will help you know your progress. Doing this will help you see if you have gotten better physically with your workouts, how many minutes you did your daily exercises, and how much more exercise you need to do through the rest of the week. You can track your activities by taking quick notes and sticking them on your fridge, typing them in your phone, or putting it somewhere that you can go back later on.
Doing exercises is better than just lounging on your sofa, spending the day watching TV. Your body might have changed throughout the years, but engaging in physical activity slowly in your life can become a routine. Visit a doctor if you are unsure of what exercises to do or have diseases that might worsen if you strain yourself too much.