There’s no denying the fact that exercise comes with many benefits, and this is especially true for seniors. Not only can regular physical activity keep age-related illnesses and other health issues at bay, but it can also help lower your risk of falling by improving your balance. The key is exercising safely.
If you’re looking to boost your health, check out these top 3 senior-safe exercise tips below.
1. Consult your doctor first.
Starting a new exercise routine may seem daunting, especially if you have not exercised in a while, and that’s okay! Your doctor can help you create an exercise routine that is appropriate for you. To prevent injury, it’s best to increase your physical activity levels to a moderate level, especially if you’re at risk of a chronic disease (like diabetes or heart disease) or if you’ve fallen before.
This tip is especially important for those seniors who have had a hip replacement. Luckily, there are great exercises for hip injuries out there, but get your doctor’s approval before trying any of them.
2. Know how much exercise you need.
A question that often comes up is how much exercise do you really need to get these health benefits? The answer is quite simple: the more physical activity you do, the more health benefits you enjoy and the more you lower your risk of falling. Remember, some exercise is better than none!
But if you’re looking for a more specific answer, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following for seniors: muscle-strengthening exercises focusing on the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms at least two days a week PLUS 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise OR 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise.
3. Try all four types of exercise.
Getting bored with your workout is the last thing you want to happen, so include a variety of exercises in your routine. In fact, there are four types of exercises that are particularly beneficial for seniors according to the National Institutes of Health’s “Exercise & Physical Activity” guide:
Aerobic: Aerobic exercises, which get your breathing and heart rate up, include brisk walking, jogging, dancing, swimming and cycling. You’re probably already doing some aerobic exercises without even realizing it, like yard work, sports and climbing stairs.
Strength: Lifting weights and using a resistance band are simple things you can do that will have a big impact on your ability to perform everyday tasks.
Balance: Millions of seniors fall every year, which is why balance exercises, like tai chi, standing on one foot and heel-to-toe walking, are essential.
Flexibility: Improving your flexibility by doing yoga and other stretches will help you be able to move more freely when exercising and performing daily activities.
Out of these four types of exercises, balance exercises might be the most important for seniors. As we age, we lose our sense of balance, which is why exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your balance are the best way to help keep you on your feet!
While exercise is a surefire way to improve your balance, it’s important to remember that falls and other accidents can still happen when exercising. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a medical alert device, such as one from our advertising partner Medical Guardian, with you at all times so your safety is guaranteed whether you’re exercising or just going about your daily routine.