Senior Fitness: Tips to Help Senior Citizens Exercise Safely
It’s a commonly held belief that as we get older, the ability and desire to be active diminishes. That “getting old” means sitting around watching TV or reminiscing about days gone by. However, our physical health and ability to get around is very much a “use it or lose it” proposition. To be active, you must stay active through regular exercise. Staying in shape as we get older requires a larger focus on safety. Our bodies don’t move as easily as they used to, so precautions must be taken to avoid injury. If you are a senior citizen or if there is an elderly person under your care, consider the following tips to safely become and stay active.
- Talk to your doctor: Before taking on an exercise regimen, it’s important to consult your physician. They have a clear picture of any health conditions that can affect your ability to exercise and can give you both parameters for fitness activities and a list of suggestions.
- Adapt a fitness routine, but start slow initially: If you have not been active previously, it’s critical to start slowly (this goes for exercise at any age). Establish a regimen that allows you to engage in basic exercises with plenty of breaks. Beyond that, monitor your own fitness closely. If you are hurting or struggling to breathe, take a break. Exercise is supposed to help you, not injure you.
- Stretching: Never underestimate the importance of stretching. Stretching helps prevent injury by making your joints more fluid. It also promotes a free range of motion.
- Strength and aerobic training: Your workout regimen should be a consistent mix of both strength and aerobic training. It’s important to note that neither one has be to elaborate or require a gym membership. Walking is one of the most therapeutic and non-taxing exercises to participate in. Swimming is also a great way to get an aerobic workout that’s geared to a variety of fitness levels. If you can’t afford free weights or elastic exercise bands, a can of corn can provide enough weight to tone your muscles. Also, bodyweight exercises, such as wall push-ups, can help you keep your muscles active.
- Tai chi and yoga: Both tai chi and yoga can be great for increasing strength, flexibility, balance and relaxation. Tai chi is a martial arts discipline that emphasizes strength and balance. Yoga uses breathing and a series of poses to increase your balance and flexibility. Both are instrumental to helping seniors increase mobility and prevent falling.
Having an active lifestyle is critical to increasing our health in senior years. However, accidents can happen. When they do, the EyeOn App can help. The notification app sends check-in messages to you at set intervals. If you don’t respond, your friends/family are immediately notified. This will allow them to investigate the situation further and seek medical help, if needed.