15 Dec The Importance of Exercise for Seniors
Regular exercise can help seniors build strength, enhance balance, and improve heart health. Here are 5 practices to incorporate exercise you can enjoy into your routine.
Maintaining mobility can be difficult as you age, but stretching regularly can reduce back pain and arthritis, lower the risk of falling, and improve posture. Focus on stretching areas that are critical for mobility, including calves, hamstrings, and hip flexors, and depending on your level of flexibility, hold each stretch for 30 seconds (Start with 10 seconds, and work up to 30). Try to stretch at least 3-4 times a week.
Research shows that strength training exercises can combat the consequences of weakness and frailty often associated with aging. Try training with 2-3 lb. weights and experiment with a variety of exercises to find what works best for you.
Do these exercises 2-3 times a week to build strength and preserve bone density. They can also lower your risk of osteoporosis while improving sleep and reducing depression.
The goal of meditation is to dedicate time to stillness and inward reflection. This practice can decrease your stress, sharpen the mind, and help with short and long-term memory recall.
To begin, sit in a comfortable position and allow your mind to empty. You can focus on your breathing, a mantra (a sound or word that may or may not have meaning), or a serine scene, such as gentle waves lapping at the shore.
Exercise You Can Do Anywhere
Here are some exercises you can do anywhere—all you need is a chair!
- Seated Tummy Twist: Begin by sitting on a chair, engaging your cores, bending your elbows, and slowly rotate to the left and right. Repeat 8-10 times to work your cores.
- Knee Lifts: This exercise is great for the muscles you use for sitting and standing. Begin by sitting in a chair and lift your right knee slowly toward your chest. Alternate legs and repeat 8-10 times.
- Knee Extensions: Do this exercise to strengthen leg muscles. Sit on the edge of your chair with knees bent. Hold onto both sides of the chair and extend your leg, pointing your toes to the ceiling. Lower your leg and repeat 8-10 times.
Staying active as you age should be something you find enjoyment in! Try dancing, water aerobics, or simply going for a walk with friends. Savor the exercise, knowing that you’re doing your mind and body a life-altering favor.