Whether you’ve been fit all of your life or you’ve loathed working out for years, exercise is a key part of your health as a senior. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only 35-44% of adults 75 years or older are physically active, and only 28-34% of adults ages 65-74 are regularly active. These statistics are alarming, signaling that older adults aren’t doing enough to keep themselves healthy.
If you’re looking to become more fit, you may not be sure where to start. Today, we’re going to cover some of the main questions you may have about exercise for seniors. Let’s dive in!
What are the benefits of exercise?
Before you get started, you’ll probably want to know how exercise benefits you in the first place.
- Maintain or lose weight
- Increased metabolism
- Improved balance
- Decreased risk of depression
- Reduced stress
- Reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Reduced loneliness
- Ability to find friends who share hobbies
- Improved confidence
Will exercising make me fall?
Many older adults fear falls, especially since it’s significantly harder to recover as you age. What may be a brief injury as a younger adult may be a major, life-altering injury as an older adult. However, it’s important to note that exercise actually helps you restore balance to prevent falls. By performing fall prevention exercises like standing on one foot, using an exercise ball, flamingo stands and squats, you can improve your ability to stay upright. If falling is a concern for you, always exercise under the supervision of someone who could assist you if you were to fall. If you plan to go for a walk or jog, always tell someone where you are going and bring a cell phone. You can still enjoy working out even if you are a fall risk, but you will need to keep your health in mind.
What kinds of workouts should I be doing?
There are four main types of exercises you can use to improve your health:
- Endurance. Endurance exercises allow you to walk or run for longer periods of time, improving your ability to keep moving. These exercises include cycling, seated volleyball, walking and more.
- Strength. If you need help to retain or build your muscles, strength training is for you. You can use resistance bands or weights to start building muscle mass, or you can use your own body weight to help you gain muscle. Strength training helps you to move around without fear and to lift any items you need.
- Balance. Falls aren’t uncommon among older adults, and balance exercises help you avoid becoming a victim to a dangerous fall. By practicing some of the balance exercises we’ve mentioned earlier in the article, you can improve your sense of balance and decrease your chances of falling.
- Flexibility. As you age, your body loses the flexibility it once had, however, some exercises can help you to restore that. Stretching is an easy exercise that can be completed nearly anywhere and with little supervision. As long as you don’t overexert yourself or force a stretch, you should be safe.
Am I too old to start exercising?
We’ve got some good news for you — there’s no such thing! Just ask the 80-year-old bodybuilders out there. While you don’t have to take on that level of commitment, it’s important to stay active even in old age. Being inactive is linked to a higher risk of death along with a lower quality of life.
If you don’t like working out, you can try activities that don’t necessarily feel like working out. For instance, you can try walking along a path with flowers or dance to a favorite song of yours. Once you’re doing something fun, you won’t even notice that you’re working out!
Are you ready to find an assisted living facility that can help you to live your healthiest life?
Contact Culpepper Place of Olive Branch. We offer programs to help keep you or your loved one healthy, safe and happy at our facility.