As people age, their bodies become weak and worn down. The quick reflexes, stamina, and recovery time from injury decreases while the risk of injury increases.
Seniors can’t do the exercises their younger counterparts can. However, this doesn’t give them the excuse to stop exercising.
Regular exercise helps seniors build endurance, increase flexibility and keep muscles and joints working properly. Exercise also increases mood and brain functioning as a result of elevated heart rate and blood flow during exercising.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seniors 65 and older need to get at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity exercise and two days of muscle-strengthening per week.
Aerobic exercises perfect for older adults include:
• Brisk walking
• Tai Chi
• Water aerobics
• Dancing (square, ballroom and line dancing)
• Climbing stairs
Seniors are encouraged to work all major muscle groups, including those in the arms and legs, the hips, back, chest, abdomen and shoulders.
Exercises that are ideal for seniors include:
• Lifting weights
• Exercising with resistance bands
• Push-ups and sit-ups
• Heavy yard work such as digging and shoveling
Individuals will experience more fitness benefits the more they exercise. The CDC suggests seniors should aim to increase their exercise frequency to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week.
Joining a group fitness or personal training program with trained professionals is the perfect way for seniors to ensure they are getting the most effective exercise for their certain age, condition and goals.
Adequate exercise is only half the solution for great health. One can exercise as much as he or she wants but will not get the full health benefits.
Nutrition is the other necessary component. Seniors are encouraged to eat healthy meals packed with various minerals including protein, healthy, complex carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and water.
Seniors are more susceptible to chronic health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis and certain cancers. With higher chances of weakened bodies and lower immune systems, it is even more important seniors have a healthy, nutritious, balanced diet.
Food with trans fats, saturated fat, sugar and empty calories, such as chips and cookies, should be avoided.
The Mayo Clinic elaborates more on what is considered to be a healthy diet for seniors:
Calcium: Calcium promotes bone growth and improves joint and muscle health. Good sources of calcium include broccoli, kale, sardines, salmon, almonds, egg yolks, and tuna.
Brain food: A diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean meat and whole grain supplies needed nutrients to the brain, which improves memory and lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Consuming too many sugary drinks like soda can increase a senior’s risk of getting additional health problems and alcohol inhibits correct brain functioning which increases the risk of forgetfulness and Alzheimer’s.
Just because one is elderly doesn’t mean he or she should not be able to live life to the fullest because of poor health due to lack of proper fitness. As one ages, it becomes more important to have a regular workout routine and a healthy diet.
Anatomy 201 offers low-impact, personal training sessions for seniors, as well as private, at-home trainer-led workouts. We also have nutrition coaches to help seniors buy and prepare nutrition-packed meals.
No one exercise program is perfect for everyone. Before starting a fitness regime, it is suggested you talk to one of our certified fitness experts to discuss your fitness goal and the available options.