The Best Exercises to Avoid a Sedentary Lifestyle
A growing body of research shows that regular exercise is extremely important for seniors. It helps improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone and functional health, reduce the risk of noncommunicable disease, depression and cognitive decline. Exercise also provides seniors with more independence, improves balance and gives them more energy.
But our bodies change when we age, so the exercises seniors used to do may not be what is best for them now. Here are some exercises that seniors can consider, after first checking with their doctor.
- Water aerobics – This is ideal for those with arthritis and other types of joint pain as water puts less stress on joints. It also has natural resistance which provides some weight training and it improves strength, flexibility and balance.
- Chair yoga – This is another low-impact form of exercise that improves muscle strength, mobility, balance and flexibility. It also has been shown to improve mental health in older adults, and those doing yoga purportedly have better quality sleep, lower instances of depression, and report a general sense of well-being.
- Resistance band workouts – This type of exercise is becoming more popular among seniors because of the relatively inexpensive cost of materials, which makes resistance band workouts ideal for at-home exercise. Additionally, these exercises are great for strengthening your core, which improves posture, mobility, and balance.
- Pilates – Another low impact exercise that emphasizes breathing, alignment, concentration and core strength. Equipment includes mats, Pilates balls, and other inflated accessories to help build strength without the stress of higher-impact exercises. It has been shown to improve balance, develop core strength and increase flexibility.
- Walking – This old standby is one of the least stressful and accessible forms of exercise. Even seniors in wheelchairs can benefit by sitting upright and using their arms to control their movements. It promotes a healthy lifestyle, while strengthening muscles, lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and colon cancer.
- Body weight workouts – Around a third of seniors live with severe muscle loss, which can lead to hormone problems, a decrease in the ability to metabolize protein, and other problems. Body weight workouts are one of the best ways to counteract the effects of muscle atrophy. And, it doesn't require much equipment; most workouts just require workout clothes and a mat to soften impact with the floor.
- Dumbbell strength training – Strength training has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of diabetes, osteoporosis, back pain, and depression while helping manage weight. It also contributes to a higher metabolism and enhanced glucose control. Dumbbell exercises are some of the best ways for seniors to strength train, if they are performed with the proper precautions. Dumbbells allow seniors to isolate muscle groups to strengthen, while improving balance and flexibility.