Okay, so you may not be able to do 50 crunches, run a marathon, finish a 50-mile bike ride or even touch your toes but staying active in your senior years is as important (if not more important), than staying fit at any other point in your life.
Extensive research points to the fact that regular moderate exercise will help seniors to retain their sense of balance and avoid falls, strengthen bones and improve memory. Regular exercise will also boost energy, enhance your mood and help you to stay healthy overall. Pretty impressive for something that can take as little as 20-30 minutes per day.
Whether you’ve been active for your entire life or you are late to the exercise game, there are certain things that every senior should take into account when they start their exercise routine:
- Develop a plan. By setting aside a specific time of the day to do your exercise it ensures that you won’t put it off because you are busy or are simply too tired. Work it into a suitable part of your day when you can afford the time and will have the energy for physical exertion. Starting to exercise at 9PM is usually unsuccessful!
- Consult with your doctor and make certain that you have their approval for the exercise routine on which you plan to embark. You want to strengthen your bones and flexibility but you must make certain that you won’t compromise your health by doing so.
- Start slow especially if you haven’t exercised in quite awhile. Ramping up too fast may lead to an accident or muscle pain caused by the new activity. Be consistent and you will find that you are able to build up to longer periods of time and more advanced exercises.
- Do activities that youenjoy. Exercise means physical activity and can include dancing, walking, running around with your grandchildren or pretty much anything that requires using your muscles and also has some cardio involvement. If you enjoy the activity you will stick with it then it won’t seem like a chore that you want to put off indefinitely.
- Be alert to any pains or problems and simply don’t push it. If you are feeling a little short of breath, then it is time to slow down or stop. If your muscles feel tight and you are getting achy, then skip a day or two and resume once you feel better. It’s never okay to push yourself to the point where you will do more harm than good.
- Consider hiring a personal trainer to work with you for at least a few sessions. The right personal trainer will be able to develop a personalized exercise routine that is appropriate for your age and condition. (The “right” trainer will be someone with senior-specific fitness certification).
- Remember that even if you are extremely frail or chair-bound there are a myriad of strength training and resistance exercises that can be done while sitting. Similar results such as improved mood, enhanced memory, strengthened muscles and improved flexibility are the by-products of these types of exercises as well.
- Stay focused and inspired. Sure there are days when you simply don’t want to exercise but it’s almost a guarantee that once you start you will feel better and by the time your exercise session is over, you will be refreshed and with more energy than when you started.
- What are you waiting for? Get Moving!!