Last week, you exited the office building you’ve worked at for the past twenty-five years for the last time. While you’re thrilled to be retired, you don’t exactly know what you’ll do with all of your new, free time yet. You’re thinking about starting that exercise program you’ve been putting off beginning for as long as you can remember. If you can relate to this scenario, consider incorporating the following five elements of smart senior exercise programs into your new routine.
5 Elements to Include in a Senior Exercise Program
Perhaps, the most crucial component of vital senior exercise programs is strength training. Small increases in muscle strength can yield positive impacts on basic daily activities such as:
- Carrying a stack of dishes to your sink
- Toting bags of groceries to your car
- Climbing a flight of stairs
- Rising from a chair
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends seniors complete muscle-strengthening activities, at least two days each week. When working out, strive to involve all of your major muscle groups including your:
If you’re new to strength training, consider starting with small one or two pound dumbbells in the beginning. As you build muscle mass, you can gradually increase the amount of weight you lift.
The perceived benefits of cardiovascular exercise are undeniable. Cardiovascular workouts might help you to:
- Burn calories
- Lower your blood pressure levels
- Stimulate your immune system
- Improve your mood
- Strengthen your heart
- Remain independent as you age
Low-impact types of exercise such as walking, swimming, water aerobics, and spinning are wonderful cardiovascular exercises for seniors.
As people age, their balance diminishes. For instance, you might notice you can’t stand on one foot for as long as you used to. Unfortunately, compromised balance increases your risk for damaging falls. Therefore, aim to complete a few balance enhancing exercises each week.
Perhaps, when you were younger, you could easily bend over and touch your toes. But, now that you’re older, you might notice completing simple activities such as reaching for the ice cream in your freezer aren’t as effortless as they once were. To improve your flexibility, strive to do a set of easy, but effective, stretching exercises daily. Always warm up your muscles by doing some form of light aerobic exercise like walking in place before stretching in order to prevent strains. Hold your stretches for approximately ten seconds each. If you’re feeling pain, you’re stretching too far. Don’t forget to breathe normally during your stretches as well.
Seniors sometimes battle with loneliness. This can especially be the case for retirees who live by themselves. Therefore, socialization is an integral component of good senior exercise programs. If you’re battling with loneliness, consider joining a gym. Gyms provide amazing opportunities to meet new people who share your interests. Many gyms offer fun, energetic group exercise classes such as:
In addition to joining a gym, signing up for ballroom dancing classes or joining a walking club at a local mall are great ways to combine socialization with exercise.
Regular exercise is vital to people of all age groups. Working out especially helps seniors stay active, alert, and vibrant. If you’re an older adult who is new to fitness, consider including the aforementioned components of smart senior exercise programs into your workout routine.