By Diana Smith Contributing Author, fitness, and alternative medicine expert
Aging isn’t the most pleasant part of life: it takes a toll on our joints, bones, hearts and lungs and it affects our overall mobility. However, with proper exercises, you’ll be a fit grandparent that will give even your grand-kids a run for their money! Here’s how to stay in shape as you age.
Senior Health: Best Ways to Stay Fit as You Age
As soon as we turn 30, we start to lose our muscle mass, 1% every year. This term is also known as sarcopenia and it involves the loss of mass, strength and quality of the muscle tissue. So, you might already see the importance of strength training for seniors! Regular resistance training may stop the decline in muscle mass and strength and forestall it for decades. However, make sure to consult with your doctor first. If you have any conditions like high blood pressure, arthritis or osteoporosis, you might need to tweak the exercises and learn which ones to avoid. It’s best to start with a personal trainer that has experience working with seniors who will show you the proper form and create an appropriate program for you. Take care for your senior health
Just like with muscles, as we get older, we start to lose our aerobic fitness, mostly due to reduced mobility. So, in order to keep your endurance levels high, it’s a great idea to engage in some type of aerobic/cardio exercises. Walking, biking and tennis are all amazing for your fitness and can be super fun! Swimming is also great, especially for people with reduced mobility or bad joints, since it’s very low-impact. Start slow, with only 5 to 10 minutes of exercise a day, but feel free to up your training time until you reach 30 minutes. Also, don’t forget to check with your doctor before you start your cardio program!
Flexibility and balance
Each year, thousands of senior patients end up in a hospital bed due to joint injuries caused by falls. With age, joints change and become stiff and less mobile which causes pain and an increased possibility of injuries. However, flexibility and balance exercises can help prevent these falls and injuries, improve your mobility and your independence. You can start with stretches or incorporate yoga and physiotherapy into your daily routine. Even some aged care communities like Mark Moran Vaucluse offer amazing exercise classes, walking groups and private sessions for its residents. All of these workout sessions are overlooked by physiotherapists and health professionals who know how to work with seniors and understand their needs and preferences. Take care for your senior health
What to avoid
There are no rules to what seniors can and can’t do, but most doctors and fitness specialists recommend ditching or at least slowing down with the activities that are very swift and high-impact. Team sports like rugby, football and handball also require plenty of physical contact that can be quite dangerous later in life. As we age, our bones become more brittle and our reflexes sluggish which might cause a serious injury.
It’s never too late
Exercise can improve your health no matter how old and out-of-shape you are. The world’s oldest female bodybuilder, who is 81 today, didn’t step into the gym until she was 56! There are also several centenarians who run marathons! Of course, you don’t have to spend hours at the gym or on the running track to see the results. Only 30 minutes of physical activity a day will keep you healthy, strong, flexible and mobile long into your old age! So, don’t hesitate to start exercising today and start reaping benefits tomorrow! Take care for your senior health
All in all, any physical activity is better than sitting on the couch all day. So, feel free to start with something easy, slow and fun. Over time, you’ll certainly grow to love working out, especially when you start noticing all the benefits and improvement to your quality of life!
Diana Smith is a full time mom interested in topic related to fitness and alternative medicine. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.
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