The list of benefits for seniors is very long if they can find a way to include a consistent, dedicated fitness routine into their life on a regular basis. Any exercise you do is excellent, but if you exercise on a regular basis the rewards are can be huge. Here is a look at a senior exercise routine and five key elements for success.
The secret for seniors to ensure the quality of life and longevity is to be consistent in their exercising. You are in effect letting your body know that you are not done, that there is plenty of work left to do. It will respond to the demands you are placing on it by becoming stronger and healthier.
THE BENEFITS OF A REGULAR EXERCISE ROUTINE
Many of the medical issues that seniors usually have to deal with can be avoided if they are fit. For instance, aerobic exercises like walking, hiking, easy running, or biking can all be great for your cardiovascular fitness and will lessen the chance of having heart issues.
By exercising, you are creating stronger muscles and that includes your heart. Your heart will become stronger because one of its main functions is to ensure a strong, steady flow of blood to your working muscles. Keep in mind that the heart is a muscle like any other muscle and it likes to be challenged in order to become strong and remain strong.
Often seniors will decide to do next to nothing when they retire because after all, they have worked all their lives and deserve to take it easy. It follows then that the message being sent to the body is that there is no need for it to be strong anymore.
It will oblige you by letting muscles soften or allow atrophy to set in. Your heart will weaken as there is no urgency for it to pump blood to working muscles because they are not working very much and are not being challenged to become stronger.
Here is a look at five key elements for success when it comes to exercise.
IS IT AFFORDABLE?
Not all seniors are wealthy and often being on a fixed income can make it expensive to take part in organized exercise programs offered at fitness clubs.
Keep in mind that there are many forms of exercise and they are not all that expensive. There are seniors that go for longs walks several days a week and all they really need is a comfortable pair of walking shoes and clothes to keep them warm on cooler days.
Cycling and running are also good choices to stay fit if you don’t want to be paying annual dues at a fitness club. There are dozens and dozens of exercise videos that are inexpensive and a great way to work out in the comfort of your own home.
Wouldn’t it be great to invite someone you met at a fitness class to come over and do some weight training or work out in your home to a new exercise video you just purchased?
You can check out these videos on Senior Strength and Balance and Beginners: Cardio and Strength Training Workouts for Seniors. They might be helpful if you are interested in exercise or weight training videos.
What an excellent way to spend a cold winter day mall-walking with a group of new friends and then going for breakfast or coffee?
I strongly feel that every senior should be doing some weight lifting in order to stay strong. You can easily do this in the comfort of your own home. Buy some weights and a good weight bench that will allow you to do strengthening exercises for your hamstrings and quads. Making these muscles stronger will give you more mobility, improve balance, and prevent falls.
This is the kind of Weight Training Bench that will enable you to work on leg muscles.
If you want to join a fitness class, your best bet is trying the local municipal recreation center. Historically, they are much less expensive than private fitness clubs and often will have programs at reduced rates for seniors.
You might even consider trying out the local recreation center in non-prime time slots. Often, early morning or evening hours can result in significant savings.
IS AN EXERCISE FACILITY ACCESSIBLE?
Some seniors can’t get around as well as others due to mobility issues, but a regular exercise routine is just as important for them as anyone else.
It’s important to find exercise opportunities that are easy to get to. This is especially important in the winter months when snow and ice make getting around pretty difficult.
The trick is to find a fitness recreation center that is close to a bus stop. Another option is to look into carpooling with seniors who can drive. Also, make sure that the center you are visiting makes an extra effort to make their building accessible for seniors.
Do they have programs that are suitable for beginners as well as those who are experienced? Is there a wide range of workouts offered? Do they have resistance training, swimming, Tai Chi, or chair aerobics for instance?
BE ADAPTABLE IN YOUR CHOICE OF EXERCISE ROUTINES
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Maybe you never learned how to swim and here you are, a senior. Look at it as an opportunity to learn something new and not something that is out of your reach because you’re too old. That’s a defeatist attitude.
Get up out of that chair and head over to the nearest pool and inquire about having some swim instruction. Did you know that swimming is the best possible exercise to improve your balance? Seniors who swim have a 25% less chance of falling and that in itself is an excellent reason for spending time at the pool a few days a week.
If you are unsure about your ability to learn how to swim because you feel you are too old, have a look at this video.
The video you about to watch is nothing short of astounding.
At 94 years old, Paul Lurie took his first Total Immersion lesson.
In eight 30-minute lessons totaling four hours of instruction, Paul developed an amazing swim stroke.
For those of you who think it’s too late in life to learn how to swim efficiently and with confidence, watch this video and view 62-year-old Total Immersion creator Terry Laughlin and 95-year-old rookie swimmer Paul Lurie swimming in sync, side-by-side and see if you can tell who is who.
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Check them out. They may have a DVD swim program or book that can really help improve your swimming technique or learn how to swim if you are just starting out.
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EXERCISE FOR QUALITY OF LIFE
It’s one thing to exercise in order to prevent chronic disease, but there is much more to exercise than that. The most important goal is to improve your quality of life and increase your longevity.
It makes no sense to live a long life if you are spending most of your senior years bed-ridden because of health issues. What you really want to do is be fit and strong while living a long life. That’s what every senior should aspire to.
Your golden years can be simply amazing if you have better sleep, more energy, increased strength and endurance, and improved flexibility and range of motion. This is very attainable if you commit to regular exercise routines as a way of life. If you look at it as a chore you don’t enjoy doing, then chances are you won’t keep at it.
However, if you look at it as a way to make your senior years the best years of your life, you simply cannot fail. In many ways, exercising is a state of mind. Every second that you spend exercising you should be feeling your heart grow stronger, disease being beaten away with a big stick, and your sense of well-being hitting new heights.
Exercising should never be a chore. It should be a passion. To put it in perspective, I once told someone if I had a choice, I would drop dead on my favorite running path when I’m 90 something. To me, that would be a perfect way to leave this world.
EXERCISE TO BUILD A STRONG SOCIAL NETWORK
Join a mall-walking group, fitness class, or a master’s swimming group. Try a Zumba class, Tai Chi, or Yoga. All of these exercise routines have an element in common.
They are all forms of exercising that are done with other like-minded people. What a great way to grow your social network. What a spectacular way to beat back the loneliness blues that have become epidemic in North America because there are millions of seniors living on their own.
They are ignored, forgotten, and too much of society may even be considered a nuisance. Don’t ever buy into that. Forward-thinking seniors are the architects of future generations. You are a million miles away from being a nuisance. It’s your lifetime of experience that can help shape the world you will leave behind one day.
The best way to be able to do this is to be social. Being social means getting out there and doing things. It means volunteering, doing social work, helping children learn, and doing all you can to share the wealth of knowledge you gained in your lifetime.
It’s difficult to be social if you are sequestered in your home. You can’t do this by ignoring your health and fitness. It will be a very long wait if you are waiting for someone to knock on your door to invite you to do something with them. You have to search out social opportunities.
Take control of your life and get out there. I guarantee you, that there are many, many seniors in your town or city who would love to spend time with you doing positive things. But first, you have to make the effort.
I believe the book Seniors On the Move would be of great help to you.
Don’t ever sell yourself short. All things are possible if you are willing to make that effort.
I hope this post on Senior Exercise Routine and five key elements for success inspire you in some way to take control of your life and get yourself out into the world.
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY READING: WEIGHT LIFTING FOR SENIORS
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