As we age it becomes increasingly important to focus on our health and wellbeing, and one of the best way to do that is to establish a workout routine. In addition to the obvious benefits to your muscles and respiratory health, regularly working out can help seniors deal with other physical issues that can stem from conditions like arthritis or diabetes. Whether your assisted living community has a gym on the premises or you are hoping to exercise in your own home, there are a couple of things that you'll definitely want to keep in mind while you're creating your health regimen.
Ease into it
Whether you're a lifelong athlete or starting your first exercise routine, you'll want to start your program slowly. Being too hasty with exercise puts you at risk for any number of injuries, so be sure to work out at your own pace. As you grow stronger and more comfortable with your routine, you can feel free to introduce more challenging exercises into your routine. Just be sure to contact your doctor before you start getting too carried away with your fitness plan.
Be sure to stretch
One important aspect of exercise that is all too often overlooked is stretching. Stretching before a workout offers a ton of health benefits, such as improving circulation and loosening joints to make for easier motions. Seniors with mobility issues may want to take this a step further by trying their hand at yoga. This a great form of low-impact exercise that can still provide practitioners a great workout.
Don't be afraid to get wet
Another great low-impact exercise that is right up most seniors' alley is swimming. Doing a few laps a couple of times a week is a great way to keep your heart healthy and build up your cardiovascular system. If you don't feel like your breast stroke is where it needs to be, why not try your hand at water aerobics? This is a great way for people suffering from arthritis to stretch their arms and legs with little to no stress on their joints.
Hit the weight room
While it may not be for everyone, a good strength training routine can help maintain bone mass, prevent age-related muscle loss and do wonders for joints and back. You'll want to take things slowly at first, spending time with smaller weights or resistance bands until you've become familiar with the motions and exercises. Once your confidence is up and you've got a few reps under your belt, you'll be surprised how much better you'll feel.
Go for a jog
Working out at home or the gym can be a lot of fun, but it's not a bad idea to get outside from time to time and just take a walk or jog. A 2014 study from researchers at Humboldt State University and the University of Colorado, Boulder found that adults over the age of 65 who ran or jogged for around 30 minutes three times per week were less likely to experience age-related decline in walking efficiency. Sure you can accomplish this on a treadmill, but taking your jogs to the great outdoors also exposes you to the benefits of the sun. Not only has exposure to the sun been shown to increase your body's production of vitamin D, spending time in the sun has also been linked to improved moods and energy.
Take rest days
You may be excited to get started on your path to fitness, but that doesn't mean you need to be in the gym every day. Resting and recovery is an important part of the workout process, so be sure to keep off days as a part of your routine – especially when you're just starting out.