There are numerous benefits to exercise for older adults – unsurprisingly! We know that exercise is good for us, but exactly why is it good for us, and how can we make it fun?
As we get older, we have different reasons for staying in shape than our younger counterparts. The perks that come with senior exercise include:
- More independence – the continued ability to walk, bathe, cook, eat, dress, and use the washroom are all based on staying active.
- Improved balance – which means a greatly reduced risk of falling.
- More energy – being active actually makes you more lively and energetic, by releasing endorphins. Endorphins are linked to pain mitigation, lower stress levels, better sleep, and more energy!
- Preventing and counteracting disease – warding off or reducing the unpleasant symptoms of heart disease, osteoporosis, depression and diabetes.
- Improved brain function – reduce your risk of dementia and improve your cognitive health through exercise.
Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen – they will be able to talk to you about which exercises are best for your current fitness level. Some ideas of great and fun exercises for seniors include:
- Chair yoga –improves muscle strength, mobility, balance and flexibility while putting less stress on muscles, joints and bones.
- Resistance band workouts –ideal for at-home use because of being relatively inexpensive, bands are great for strengthening your core to improve posture, mobility and balance.
- Water aerobics – removes joint stress and use the water’s resistance to improve your strength, flexibility and balance.
- Pilates – improve balance, develop core strength, and increase flexibility with mats, pilates balls, and other accessories.
- Dumbbell strength training – contributing to a higher metabolism and enhanced blood sugar control, dumbbells allow you to isolate muscle groups and improve balance and flexibility.
- Also great are going for a brisk walk around the block after lunch, going for a nature hike on the weekend, being active with the family by having “active reunions”, and taking the dog for a walk after dinner.
One last great thing about exercise for seniors is that it often gives us the chance to meet and socialize with others. Fitness classes and walking groups can be a great way to make friends and avoid social isolation. This, in turn, has lots of other mental and physical benefits.
The government recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and at least two days a week of muscle-strengthening activities can seem daunting, but there are lots of benefits and lots of ways to get movement into your life! Any activities that get your heart beating faster and your muscles work harder than usual count, and there’s lots of variety out there – so join in today!
When working with our clients at Proactive Seniors, we always inquire about how much they exercise and if we can be of assistance in facilitating more exercise in their days. For our seniors who are relocating to a retirement residence we like to know what kinds of exercise they like. Some seniors like to participate in yoga, or chair exercise, walking groups or pool exercise. These preferences help us in recommending their best fit options in a retirement residence. For our seniors who are staying in their home we like to ensure that they have appropriate exercise opportunities. That may be helping them find a suitable exercise class outside of the home or helping to facilitate a home exercise program. We may connect the senior with a mobile exercise therapist, occupational therapist or physical therapist. We may find specialized exercise programs for seniors with specific conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease or Cardiac Rehabilitation.
If you are a senior or loved one of a senior and would like to know about exercise programs in retirement residences, in the community or in the home, please reach out and we will help
7 Best Exercises for Seniors (and a Few to Avoid!) – Senior Lifestyle
Physical Activity Recommendations for Different Age Groups | Physical Activity | DNPAO | CDC
Physical activity is just what the doctor ordered (health.gov)Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines For Older Adults | Active Aging Canada