It’s never too late to make healthy changes to your lifestyle. There may be some different considerations as we age and embark on a new fitness journey, but the end goal remains the same: improved flexibility, stamina, strength, and overall health.
May 25th is National Senior Health & Fitness Day. Whether you’re in good general health or you’re living with illness or injury, the day offers a great reason to get going with your own new senior fitness plans.
Before you begin any new exercise regimen, you should be sure to check in with your doctor, who can tell you if there are any limitations or other concerns you should be aware of. The National Institute on Aging recommends that you ask your doctor the following questions:
- Are there any exercises or activities I should avoid?
- Is my preventive care up to date?
- How does my health condition affect my ability to exercise?
Set Fitness Goals
Motivate yourself by setting concrete fitness goals. Think about the reasons you are beginning a new fitness routine and what you hope to get out of it. Do you want to be able to dance at a loved one’s wedding, improve your arm strength, or lose a few pounds?
By setting specific, realistic goals, you will be able to track your progress and celebrate when you achieve them.
Short-term goals can include things like finding a good class to try out or buying new workout shoes. Long-term goals may include things like lowering your blood pressure or being able to swim one mile.
Make a Plan
Decide what activities you’d like to incorporate into your new routine. Some of the best exercises for older adults include:
- Walking – try a short park trail or the perimeter of a building you know
- Water aerobics, including leg lifts, aqua jogging, and flutter kicking
- Resistance band workouts, including the leg press and triceps press
- Pilates, including side circles and leg circles
- Body weight workouts, including squats to a chair and side lying circles
- Chair yoga, including the overhead stretch, and seated cat stretch
- Strength training, including dumbbell workouts for bicep curls and the overhead press
- Balance exercises, including single leg lift and tai chi
Any of these can be easily modified to account for any illness or injury you may be experiencing. If you receive healthcare at home, talk with your nurse or physical therapist for advice as you get started.
There are also many activities you should avoid if beginning a new exercise routine as an older adult. Doing so can prevent injury and strain. Avoid activities like the bench press, long-distance running, high-intensity interval training, and rock climbing. If in doubt, ask your doctor or fitness trainer.
Tips to Exercise Safely
- Start slowly with low-intensity exercises.
- Remember to warm up and cool down to start and end your workout.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Drink lots of water when exercising, even if you’re not thirsty.
- Wear clothes appropriate for your activity.
The hardest part of beginning a new health and fitness routine is simply getting started. By carefully planning and being thoughtful, you can begin the first steps on a journey to a happier, healthier life. We hope these senior health and fitness tips can help you get started.
Do you or a loved one need help at home? Email firstname.lastname@example.org now to learn how we can alleviate stress and provide individuals with the highest quality of life.