These days, choosing to age in place is a common occurrence for many senior citizens throughout the United States. More people are opting to remain in their homes rather than be placed in a nursing home, or move to an assisted living community. There are many things one has to consider when making this decision though, and individuals making this choice need to think it over thoroughly. One thing that is incredibly important for seniors aging in place is making sure they get enough exercise on a regular basis.
As we get older our bodies don’t maintain muscle mass as well, and many people opt for a more sedentary life as time goes by. This makes sense because as we age it takes more effort to do things that used to be incredibly easy. But getting older doesn’t mean we no longer need to exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
That being said, many exercise regimens are too much for older adults, and can lead to injury or excessive soreness. Luckily there are plenty of exercise regimens that are gentle, but still rigorous enough to get the blood pumping and work out those muscles. Many of these routines can be done once a day or 2-3 times per week resulting in better blood flow, more energy, and better physical and emotional health overall.
Here are some exercise ideas that are recommended for senior citizens:
Yoga is great for older adults because it is highly adaptable to skill level. This means you can find a routine that is perfect for you regardless of physical limitations. Many yoga poses are more based on balance than raw strength or flexibility, and you still get the benefits of yoga, even if you aren’t able to make each pose to its fullest extent. Yoga is a favorite among seniors because it can be done in the comfort of your own home, or at your local gym, which can provide a wonderful social group for seniors who live alone.
There are many videos of differing skill levels and intensity for those who prefer to do yoga at home, and by circulating different routines, you can make sure that you are getting a full range of exercise. Yoga is gentle on the body, and increases strength, flexibility, relaxation, and circulation. In addition to yoga’s physical benefits, there are also mental and emotional benefits that come from the meditative session that ends most yoga routines. Yoga makes for a great exercise regimen by itself, or can easily be added as a supplement to a larger exercise routine.
This has become the cliché of senior fitness, and there’s a reason for it. Aquatic exercise is very low-stress on bones and joints, since there is no significant impact on your body like there is with running, or even walking. For seniors that suffer from arthritis or osteoporosis, aquatic exercise can help build muscle without damaging your joints and causing further pain.
Unfortunately this can be difficult to do at home if you don’t have a pool. Most gyms offer senior aquatic programs though, which can be a great place to meet other seniors in your community and make new friends. If you have trouble driving, you can always get in touch with an in-home senior care service that can assist you to and from your aquatic aerobics class, or utilize senior transportation services in your area.
Aquatic aerobics classes help seniors build muscle, increase circulation, and remain active as they age and is highly recommended as a regular exercise routine for anyone over the age of 65.
You’ve probably heard before that walking is good exercise, and it’s especially good exercise for older adults. Running puts a lot of stress on the body and requires a lot of energy, which makes it a less viable exercise option for most seniors. Walking on the other hand provides a lot of the same benefits as running (depending on how long you choose to walk for), without causing extra stress on your bones and joints.
A short walk every day can have a myriad of health benefits including:
- A chance to get out of the house
- Aerobic exercise to keep your heart and lungs healthy
- Stretching your leg muscles to keep from cramping up
- Increased metabolism
Walks are a fairly easy habit to get into for most seniors, and it can be a great addition to any existing exercise routine. Even if walking is the only exercise you get during the week, it’s important to take that time for yourself and get out and get moving, even if it’s just a short walk. Choose a route that has nice scenery and try to get into the habit of walking in the morning and afternoon.
These very basic exercise routines can drastically improve the health of seniors who choose to remain in the homes for their twilight years. Physical and emotional health are very important to keep track of when living by yourself in your old age. Many seniors who age in place suffer from feelings of isolation and depression, both of which can be stymied by regular exercise. So do yourself a favor and make a regular exercise routine part of your everyday life.