Fitness will always be an important part of people’s lives, regardless of their age. Seniors, in particular, need to keep a balanced lifestyle to achieve a healthy body, mind, and spirit and continue to be active and social.
Before starting any exercise program, however, you must see your doctor, especially if you already have health concerns. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons advises all seniors to take note of the following precautions and tips:
- If you have a fever, cough, or cold, stop exercising and consult your doctor. Restart your program when you are better.
- When you resume your exercise program, start from the very beginning and not where you left off. Give your body time to recover.
- Do not exercise during peak traffic hours as the air quality is not as clean. It’s also best if you exercise outdoors whenever possible.
Assisted living communities know the importance of a balanced program. Thus, they tend to offer activities that include endurance, strength, balance and relaxation exercises.
Aerobic exercises such as swimming, brisk walking, dancing and bicycling increase one’s breathing and heart rate. They are best for controlling weight and improving the health of your lungs and heart. Dancing, on the other hand, makes it easier for you to forget that you are, in fact, exercising.
Aquatic exercises are good for arthritis and joint pain. Specially designed water exercises for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s have been reported to reduce one of the diseases’ symptoms – agitation. It turns out that swimming deflects energy in a positive manner. The decrease in anxiety will help reduce stress.
Strength Training leads to a better quality of life and feeling more independent. With stronger muscles and bones, you’ll be able to carry your own shopping bags, lift your grandchild, and even do yard work. The National Institutes of Health lists the most common strength exercises as resistance bands and free weights. All major muscle groups should be exercised equally, including the chest, back, arms, stomach, hips, and legs.
If you experience calcium imbalances or bone health concerns such as osteoporosis, you must consult with a physician prior to starting strength training.
To increase flexibility and agility, participation in stretching and breathing activities like yoga and Tai Chi classes is very important. They help in improving the body’s range of motion, and lessen muscle tension and pain. The balance training also helps prevents falls, and consequently, fall-related injuries such as fractures. Seniors who indulge in these types of programs exhibit increased self-confidence and calmness.
To achieve overall fitness, you must engage in relaxation techniques. These are needed to maintain good cardiac health, manage blood pressure, and decrease stress. That is why many communities in all assisted living directory offer these programs. Relaxation techniques that are easy to do include controlled deep breathing and listening to calming music.
A balanced wellness and fitness program will give you long-lasting health benefits and a sense of accomplishment. It will be worth your time to join one of them.