At every stage of life, staying active helps people to maintain overall health and feel their best. Regular exercise can assist in preventing heart disease and diabetes, as well as reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Exercise plans for seniors improve balance, flexibility, endurance, and strength – and can greatly improve a senior citizen’s quality of life.
While reminding seniors that they should consult with their doctor before undertaking any new exercise plans, the National Institute on Aging recommends 4 types of exercise to those in their golden years.
What to Incorporate in Senior Exercise Plans
There are four different disciplines which are important to anyone’s overall health and wellness, but are especially useful to keep seniors moving and feeling their best. These include endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.
- Endurance: Endurance exercises are cardio in nature, and take a wide variety of activities into account. In general, cardio will elevate the heart rate into a safe zone, and utilize major muscles. One of the best ways for seniors to incorporate cardio into their routine is walking. Walking provides all of the benefits of exercise without any strain on joints. You can walk anywhere, indoors or outdoors, and it is also a great way to stay social. Mall walking has become a popular part of exercise plans for seniors, as you can walk in temperature controlled, safe environments, usually among others doing the same. Another way to stay active while protecting joints and bones include swimming and water aerobic classes.
- Strength: Strength exercises keep muscles from atrophying and make all everyday tasks easier to perform. While many seniors may consider strength exercises too rigorous to include in exercise plans, there are many strength movements which are easy yet effective. Seniors may do pushups against a wall, or utilize a resistance band from a sitting position. In fact, leg lifts or arm curls can be executed from a sitting position if need be, while stronger seniors can stand and hold onto a wall or counter for support. Even doing regular grip exercises will help in overall capabilities and maintaining independence.
- Balance: Balance exercises help to prevent falls and maintain confidence when standing and walking. A senior with a good sense of balance will stay more active overall and not be afraid to venture out, do other exercise, and stay social. Practicing balance while holding onto a chair is one way to accomplish this goal, but more agile seniors may consider adding tai chi or yoga into their exercise plans and routine.
- Flexibility: Maintaining flexibility can be a challenge for senior citizens who don’t move as often as they used to. Flexibility is most often achieved simply by stretching, which is something virtually every senior can accomplish to some degree. While more mobile seniors may consider yoga classes, others can simply stretch their arms, neck and legs while in their chair, or holding onto a wall. If you are a senior just starting out wih stretching and agility exercises, be careful getting onto the floor. Be sure that you can safely get back up, or enlist the help of a family member or assisted living facility aide to make sure that you can stand up again after stretching.
Experts know that it is critical to both mental and physical health that seniors stay as active as possible. Understanding that each person is at a different stage, the professionals at A Banyan Residence are committing to working with your loved one to keep them active and engaged in life. Our Venice assisted living facility and memory care residence take the totality of their well-being into account. Schedule your tour today.