As we age, it's important to stay active and maintain good health. Exercise has been shown to provide numerous benefits for seniors, including improving cardiovascular health, maintaining muscle mass, reducing the risk of falls, and increasing mental well-being. In saying that this is actually true whatever age you are. When you're a child, you're in constant movement, jumping and running but as you become an adult there's often less and less time for conscious movement (which is a lot more than running to catch the bus).
Retirement is the perfect time to reclaim some time to exercise or if you've kept active, try out some new forms of movement! In this blog post, I'm looking at 5 fantastic workouts for seniors, whatever fitness you're in to start with.
Walking is a low-impact aerobic exercise that is perfect for seniors. It's easy to do and doesn't require any special equipment, making it an excellent choice for those who are new to exercise or have mobility issues. Walking can help improve cardiovascular health, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve balance and coordination. Seniors should aim to walk for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Resistance training, also known as weight lifting or strength training, is essential for maintaining muscle mass and strength as we age. As we get older, we naturally lose muscle mass, which can lead to weakness and a higher risk of falls. Resistance training can help prevent muscle loss and maintain or increase muscle strength. You can use resistance bands or light weights to perform exercises such as bicep curls, squats, and lunges. It's important to start with light weights and gradually increase the weight as strength improves, especially if you are new to resistance training.
Yoga can be an excellent choice as it is low-impact and can help improve flexibility, balance, and strength. Yoga can also help reduce stress and improve mental well-being. There is a variety of yoga styles, including chair yoga, gentle yoga, and restorative yoga that you can choose from if you have never tried it before. It's important to find a qualified yoga instructor who can help modify poses to accommodate for your own body.
Swimming is another low-impact aerobic exercise that is easy on the joints and can help improve cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility. Swimming is a full-body workout that can help to improve muscle strength and tone. It can also help to build endurance and improve overall fitness. It can also help reduce the risk of falls by improving balance and coordination. If swimming laps is too strenuous or just not your thing, you could still head to the swimming pool for some water aerobics classes which will provide a dynamic low-impact workout as well.
Pilates is another excellent workout option for seniors. Pilates is yet another low-impact exercise that focuses on building core strength, improving flexibility, and promoting good posture. Pilates exercises can be modified to accommodate any body and physical abilities, making it a great option even if you have mobility issues. Incorporating Pilates into a regular exercise routine can help you improve your balance, reduce the risk of falls, and increase overall strength and flexibility.
In conclusion, staying active and incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine is essential for maintaining good health as we age. Walking, resistance training, yoga, swimming, and Pilates are all excellent workout options throughout life.
It's important to find an exercise routine that works for you and that you enjoy as this will ensure you stick to it. Event better, you could find a friend or gather a group of friends and friends of friends to exercise together!
Note that you might want to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program.
As a Pilates instructor, I wanted to share a bit more about the numerous benefits that Pilates can offer for ageing bodies.
Improved core strength: Pilates exercises focus on building core strength, which is essential for maintaining good posture, balance, and stability. As we age, our core muscles tend to weaken, which can lead to poor posture and an increased risk of falls. Pilates can help seniors maintain and improve their core strength, which can help them stay active and independent for longer.
Increased flexibility: Pilates exercises incorporate a range of movements that can help improve flexibility and range of motion. As we age, our muscles and joints can become stiff and less flexible, making it more difficult to perform everyday activities. Pilates can help seniors maintain and improve their flexibility, which can make it easier to perform daily tasks and reduce the risk of injury.
Reduced stress: Pilates exercises are designed to be slow, controlled, and mindful. This can help seniors reduce stress and improve their mental well-being. As we age, we may experience more stress and anxiety, which can negatively impact our health. Pilates can help seniors manage stress and promote relaxation.
Increased balance and coordination: Pilates exercises can help improve balance and coordination, which can reduce the risk of falls. Falls are a major concern for seniors, as they can lead to serious injuries and a loss of independence. Pilates can help seniors maintain their balance and coordination, which can help them stay active and independent for longer.
Low-impact and adaptable: Pilates is a low-impact exercise that can be adapted to accommodate any physical limitations. This makes it a great option for seniors who may have mobility issues or chronic conditions. Pilates exercises can be modified to be performed seated, using props, or with lighter resistance.