Though both tend to deteriorate as we get older, health and exercise have no age limit. Staying active is vital to keep people of all ages healthy and fit. Yet between lives getting busier and bodies getting achier with time, physical activity tends to fall off as people reach 65 years of age. In fact, only 28% of adults ages 65-74 are considered physically active. However, 35%-44% of those 75 years or older can say the same. So what exercise are these seniors doing to stay active? Below are five great options for exercise for seniors. People aged 65 and above should be getting two to three hours of moderate exercise per week to stay fit, but be sure to check with a physician before breaking into a new routine.
Aerobic exercise is great for burning calories and building cardiovascular and muscular endurance. It's also a great way to socialize when done in a group setting at your local gym, such as a Zumba class. Senior workout classes are a great place to start for seniors just getting into regular exercise, as they provide support from both class leaders and peers.
For those who want to get their heart rate up but aren't keen on group fitness, walking can be a great way to fit in exercise. When done at a brisk pace, walking can be an effective calorie burner. It's recommended that most people (without physical limitations such as chronic conditions) get 10,000 steps in per day. Start small by parking further from store entrances or opting to take the stairs when possible.
Swimming is often referred to as the perfect exercise, due to its ability to both build muscle and increase cardiovascular health. It also has the added bonus of relieving stress on bones and joints. If you can't swim, water aerobics are great for a low impact water workout.
4. Stretching and Yoga
Yoga and stretching are great options for senior workout classes because flexibility decreases with age. Stretching sometimes seems unnecessary, but doing it regularly can prevent injury and decrease everyday pain. If stretching for ten minutes a day sounds too boring, try to challenge yourself with a yoga sequence at home or in a class setting.
5. Low Impact Weight Training
If your goal is to gaining muscle or strength training, try lifting weights. There are many basic lifts that will decrease impact while still allowing you to build muscle. Try starting with bodyweight exercises before adding barbells into your workout to prevent injury.
While getting enough exercise as a senior is necessary to improve health and fitness, it's important to find an exercise that you enjoy. Whether that's walking solo or taking weekly senior workout classes at the gym, there are plenty of safe and fun options to reach a healthy amount of exercise each week and stay in great shape.