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Fitness Doesn’t Stop at 50: How to Exercise if you’re a Senior Citizen

July 13, 2017 in: Fitness Doesn’t Stop at 50: How to Exercise if you’re a Senior Citizen,

Old age can certainly bring its share of concerns. Your joints may creak whenever you have to bend to pick something up. You might not be able to read your morning newspaper without your prescription glasses or you may have to turn your television up much higher than you used to, to hear the evening report. There are some effects of time that you just can’t avoid.

However, for many others, exercise is a wonderful elixir. It staves off a host of diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Keeps your moods and brain functions in check, and saves you from all manner of injuries caused by loss of muscle mass and bone density in later years.

By focusing on the following routines, and starting off slowly you too can become a fitter and more independent you.

Aerobics and Endurance

Perhaps the most important part of any training regimen, good cardiovascular exercise burns calories and keeps your heart healthy. Experts suggest that 30 minutes of this type of exercise daily for a combined 150 per week should be plenty to keep you busy.

Perfect examples of this include, walking, cycling and swimming. Low impact exercises are recommended, as these produce the least amount of wear and tear on your joints, preventing any stress related injuries. Engaging in outdoor activities, such as tai chi in the park or joining a walking group will help keep you focused and on track while providing added vitamin D from the sunlight. 

This type of exercise should help you most in your everyday life by establishing a base of fitness that will help you perform your daily chores without getting winded.

Strength Training

Every movement we perform requires an element of strength, whether it’s carrying bags of groceries to and from the store, or simply getting off your chair. A dedicated strength training routine can help you carry around your body weight and carry out light tasks with ease. Experts suggest strength training at least twice a week for seniors over 65.

A good routine should account for both your upper and lower body. Some handy exercises to try are:

  • Ab Contractions: simply working on tightening your core for a couple of seconds at a time before releasing, repeat as many times as it takes for you to feel the burn.
  • Push-Ups: The old stand-by, with old age it might be difficult to perform the classic floor push-ups. Using a wall instead, makes the exercise easier. Keep your spine straight and your arms extended parallel to your shoulders, making sure not to turn them in. Then simply lower and raise your body for as many repetitions as possible.
  • Knee Lifts: An easy one, you can do right from your chair. From a straight sitting position, raise your thighs and knees about a couple of inches off the chair in unison. Hold for three seconds then let them fall.

Alongside these home based routines, you can try joining a strength class targeted towards the elderly at your local gym.

Balance and Flexibility

For senior citizens, balance and flexibility are key areas to focus on. With falls and stumbles responsible for a vast majority of injuries to the elderly and flexibility so important to everyday tasks such as dressing, cooking and cleaning. Focusing on these skills can reap big rewards.

Simple and effective stretching routines can be found in old-age yoga or Pilates classes available at your local gym. Alternatively, you can try touching your toes while keeping your knees unbent. Or just sitting in your chair, you can stretch your legs out while leaning back extending your feet away from you.

For balance, try holding onto one leg and maintaining equilibrium with the other, or carefully getting up and down from on top of a chair without reaching for support, if you’re feeling more advanced.

A Happier, Healthier and Longer Life

For all the problems that old age can bring, there’s no excuse to let time to get the better of you. With a consistent exercise routine, you can ensure that heading into your golden years, you’re able to enjoy your hard-earned retirement with all the joy and vitality you had in your youth. With the added benefit of a wealth of experience.

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