Fitness & Exercise Tips for Seniors

Posted by Kia Crawford on March 7th, 2016 in Education | No Comments

Water Aerobics

Staying healthy and in shape is important for people of all ages. But as we become older, our bodies begin to slowly break down. Muscle can lose mass, and bones may become more brittle. Eating a healthy diet plays a major role in maintaining a  strong musculoskeletal system. However, it is not the only factor.

A daily exercise regimen can keep our bodies from deteriorating. Of course, it would be difficult to keep the same kind of exercise schedule we had when we were younger. But, a lighter, adjusted regimen can keep you healthy. In addition, exercise releases endorphins, which are “happy hormones.” As such, it can be a good way to stave off issues like depression, or at least lessen its effects.

1. Build Leg Muscle for Balance

One of the top complaints for adults over 60 is vertigo, a condition that may make it harder to stand, or even sit, without swaying or falling over. Sometimes, this is due to issues in the inner ear, which can make it difficult to maintain equilibrium. However, a more common cause for poor balance is weak leg and/or core muscles. One of the best exercises to workout both of these groups of muscles are leg raises.

  • Lay on your side
  • Slowly lift your top leg about six to 12 inches, then lower it
  • Repeat 10 times, or as many times as you are comfortable with
  • Switch sides

If issues like arthritis prevent you from laying on your hip, you could also try standing hip extensions.

  • Standing about a foot from a chair, bend at the hips about 45 degrees and hold on to the chair.
  • Slowly lift one leg backwards without bending your knee or pointing your toes.
  • Hold for about a second, then bring your leg back down.
  • Repeat with each leg about 10 times, or as many times as you feel comfortable with

2. Use Relaxation Techniques to Fight Arthritis

Arthritis is a vicious disease. While taking some supplements and maintaining a vitamin-rich diet can combat some of the symptoms and effects of arthritis, there are other actions you can take. A regimen of light stretching exercises can help reduce your pain and even strengthen your joints. One of the most effective exercises is yoga. The light stretching and deep meditation can help boost your immune system and can reduce joint inflammation. It’s important, however, to avoid intense programs, like hot yoga, which raise internal body temperature and can increase inflammation.

For those with severe arthritis, any kind of impact exercise like walking can cause a great amount of pain. That’s why swimming and doing water exercises are an ideal way to strengthen your body with minimal pain. One effective exercise is to find a shallow pool, like a lap pool, and walk, or jog, from one end to another.

  • In a shallow pool, stand upright near the wall
  • Walk or jog, whichever you are comfortable with, from one side to the other
  • If there are others in the pool, jog or march in place
  • You don’t want to overexert yourself, but your heart rate should rise a little
  • A jogging belt can help you stay buoyant and take the pressure off your joints.

Simply going for a swim can also relieve pain in your joints while getting great exercise. Plus, swimming can be downright fun!

3. Make Sure Exercise is Doctor-Approved

Every person is unique and is facing different health problems. As such, not every exercise will be recommended or even beneficial for you. The most important thing you can do is speak with your doctor before taking up an exercise regimen. Your doctor knows your existing health conditions, and can recommend different activities ideal for you.

Exercise is also much more enjoyable if you have a group of people working out by your side. At Dogwood Forest, we offer great opportunities for group exercises for our residents to stay happy and healthy in their golden years. For more information about everything we have to offer at our different assisted living communities in Georgia, contact us today.