As a senior, you might be asking the question “how to stay active as a senior.”
Staying active isn’t rocket science. By merely combining different kinds of exercises, you can make your workouts more enjoyable as well as get the most out of your workout time. The secret is to discover what activities you love the most. By examining the four foundational principles of fitness, you can begin your journey of discovery today!
These four principles are:
1. Flexibility Training
So how does flexibility training work? Quite simply, it puts your body to the test of how widely it can move through a range of different motions. The best part about this type of exercise is that you can remain stationary if you want to (so not a lot of space is needed). These stretches will keep your muscles supple and make you less vulnerable to injuries over time. Yoga is a perfect example of flexibility training.
Flexibility training is not only good for your health and staying limber but also offers practical benefits for your life. Some examples are:
- greater flexibility means that you can more easily look behind you when driving
- tie your shoes
- play with your grandkids
- shampoo your hair
- get out of bed easier
And the list goes on…
2. Strength Training
Strength training will build up your muscles via repetitive motions. You can use weights, machines, or elastic bands to aid in this. You may also take strength training to the next level by doing power training, which is just strength training at a faster speed. Power training will help further improve your strength and reaction times.
Strength training is suitable for everyone, even seniors. It helps to prevent bone loss, improve your balance, and of course, build up muscles; all of this is important for maintaining an active lifestyle and avoiding falling. Power training, on the other hand, will make you faster. An instance where this could be useful in daily life is when crossing the street. Power training also improves your reaction times, which can be essential for preventing falls by allowing you to react quickly if you happen to trip or lose your footing.
To sum it up: strength and power training will allow you to live an independent lifestyle as a senior. Day to day activities like lifting items, opening jars, getting into and out of your car, etc., will not be impossible.
3. Cardiovascular Training
Cardio training involves utilizing the larger muscle groups by making rhythmic motions over a certain length of time. Doing cardio exercise will make your heart beat faster, and you may even find yourself running out of breath. Popular cardio activities include climbing stairs, bicycling, tennis, dancing, rowing, hiking, walking, and swimming.
Cardio is excellent for your health because it will help to reduce your fatigue and prevent you from experiencing shortness of breath during your normal daily activities. Furthermore, you’ll also have higher endurance to handle everyday activities like running errands, going on walks, and cleaning out the house.
4. Balance Training
Balance training improves your ability to stand and remain stable, whether you’re moving about or standing still. For improving balance – yoga, posture exercises, and Tai Chi are excellent workouts to consider. If you do these workouts, you’ll be able to confidently remain balanced.
In short, balance training is beneficial because it will:
- make your walks more enjoyable
- improve your ability to balance
- give you better posture
- perhaps most importantly, it will reduce your chances of falling and help you overcome your fear of falling.
Activities for Seniors
We’ve discussed some popular activities that seniors can engage in to stay more active. Let’s dive a bit deeper into the specifics of how to stay active as a senior:
Tai Chi/Qi Gong: These are systems of movement that were inspired by martial artists. The benefits include improving your strength and balance. If you’re a senior who wishes to take these classes, they are usually available at community centers or at a local YMCA.
Water sports/Aerobics: Exercising in water is actually a great idea. It not only reduces the strain on your body’s joints but relieves stress as well.
Go for a walk: this is the easiest way to start getting into the habit of exercising. No costly equipment is needed, besides some comfortable walking shoes. And what’s more, it can be done almost anywhere!
Yoga: this form of exercise might sound intimidating to someone who has never done it before. Yoga is really quite simple – you just combine different poses with different breathing techniques. After going through the various motions, you’ll improve your balance, strength, and flexibility. Yoga can be adopted by people of any skill level.
Senior Sports: did you know that there are sports and classes designed specifically for seniors? These will not only be a lot of fun but will also help you meet friends and reduce your stress levels.
How to Get Started
As you get older, becoming active is one of the wisest decisions that you can make. However, you must ensure that you safely progress towards this goal.
So this begs the question, how to stay active as a senior without causing yourself bodily harm?
First of all, you should get medical clearance from your doctor before beginning any exercise program, particularly if you have any preexisting conditions. Also, ask your doctor which activities should be avoided.
Be sure to take into account your own health concerns. How do they affect your ability to do the workouts? One example for people with diabetes is that they might need to adjust their meal and medication times to work in conjunction with their workout schedule.
Always remember to listen to your body. Exercise shouldn’t make you feel miserable.
If you start feeling any of the following symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- feel pain or pressure in your chest
- break into a cold sweat
- feel extreme pain of any kind
Then stop what you’re doing and call your doctor immediately! Also, if your joints are tender, red, or swollen, then put your workout routine on pause for a while. If you always experience pain or discomfort after your workouts, then try changing up your strategy. For example, instead of doing one or two longer workouts each day, try doing several shorter workouts throughout the day.