Don’t believe everything that you hear when it comes to aging and fitness. For proof that aging doesn’t have to slow you down, look no further than Harriette Thompson. In 2014, she ran a record-breaking race at the Rock ‘n Roll San Diego marathon, coming in first in her age group, which was for participants between the ages of 90 and 94. While not all elderly people are capable of running more than 26 miles, it is possible to stay active as you age. People who exercise later in life enjoy a number of health-related benefits according to Senior Care Center.
The Advantages Of Exercising For Seniors
Getting exercise on a regular basis can benefit seniors in a number of different ways. According to NIH Senior Health, some of those benefits include the following:
Better Resistance Against Disease
Research has shown that people who get regular exercise as they age can stop or delay the onset of a variety of different diseases and health conditions according to Senior Care Center. Exercise can also be used to reduce the symptoms of certain chronic health problems. For instance, people who suffer from diabetes, arthritis, or heart disease could see a reduction in their symptoms through the use of exercise. Exercising can also improve balance, reduce high blood pressure, and make it easier for people to walk.
An Elevated Mood
Being more active helps combat stress, which can lead to an elevated mood. Exercise can even fight depression if it is done regularly. Interestingly, researchers have also found that there may be a link between staying physically active and maintaining certain cognitive abilities. For instance, exercising may help seniors maintain their ability to plan ahead, filter out unnecessary information, and switch between different activities. The six tips on getting in shape that are listed below are specifically geared toward seniors.
Get Enough Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular exercise can improve the health of both the lungs and the heart. Some of the most effective cardio workouts for seniors include light jogging and walking. If mobility is an issue, there are even workout routines that can be performed while seated in a chair.
Build Muscle Through Strength Training
According to the CDC, seniors can benefit from strength training workouts. A well-developed workout should not only include a warm-up and cool-down but should also work both the upper and lower parts of the body. As long as the exercises challenge the muscles, they can be done in a seated or standing position.
Choose Activities That Build Balance And Increase Flexibility
Falls account for a large percentage of the injuries that seniors endure. Any activities that improve balance and flex ability can help minimize the likelihood of falling. Some activities that are worth trying include standing on one leg, walking in a straight line as if on a tight rope or balance beam, and tai chi. Activities like yoga that involve stretching are also beneficial.
Practice Deep Breathing
The chest cavity naturally stiffens with age, which can make it harder to take deep breaths. Breathing-related exercises may help prevent this problem. Some activities to try include abdominal breathing and humming.
Experiment With New Activities
No matter how old you are, you can always try new things. Experimenting with new activities can be a lot of fun. For instance, people who don’t know how to swim can take lessons or can try their hand at water aerobics. Dance lessons can be beneficial for seniors who have always felt uncoordinated. Seniors who hate the idea of running may enjoy getting out for hikes in nature instead.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
Getting enough sleep plays a key role in both physical and mental health. Some simple ways to improve sleep quality include following a regular schedule for sleeping, performing the same routine every night before bed, and skipping out on large meals and alcohol close to bedtime.
All seniors can benefit from adding more physical activity to their routines. By creating a customized exercise program, it is totally possible to stay healthy and strong well into old age.