Workouts for Senior Citizens
As we age it is still important, sometimes even more important, to maintain an active lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults (individuals over the age of 65) should exercise for at least 150 minutes a week with moderate-intensity aerobic activity. It’s also recommended that you work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) twice or more weekly. Experts agree that exercise is key to maintaining good health. But sometimes it can be daunting, especially as a senior citizen, to begin a new training program. Below we’ll discuss some easy ways that the elderly can stay in great shape with a solid foundation of strength and conditioning exercises.
As we age, it can become difficult to lift heavy weights. This might be caused by past injuries or simply aging skeletal and muscular systems. There are many great alternatives that cause minimal stress on the body. One great low-stress exercise is swimming. Often dubbed one of the world’s best exercises, swimming is a great way to boost one’s overall health while avoiding serious injuries. The great thing about swimming is that there is no age limit, and due to its low-stress nature, even elderly individuals in their 90s (or even those above the age of 100!) can enjoy its benefits. Swimming is great for those who suffer from joint problems such as arthritis, especially when compared to alternative cardio workouts such as running.
Yoga is one of the best low-impact ways to exercise both the mind and the body. Yoga helps build muscle strength, aerobic fitness, balance, core stability, mobility, and flexibility—all of which are important for older adults. Although yoga does not involve free weights, it still utilizes one’s body weight, meaning that there is still some resistance, balance, and overall strength involved. Most gyms have yoga programs, so if you’ve never tried yoga before make sure to get into a beginner’s class!
Everyone needs strength training in their exercise programs. That’s where bodyweight training comes in. One of the main advantages of bodyweight training is it requires no gym equipment and it can be done anywhere. There are great exercises that work on muscle groups in the legs, core, and upper body.
A great way to build leg strength is with bodyweight squats. Squats have many different variations, but a great type of squat for senior citizens is the chair squat. The move is quite simple, and the only piece of “equipment” needed is a sturdy chair. Start in a sitting position. Extend your arms out in front of your body and stand up. Apply resistance on the way back down into the seated position. Repeat for 3 sets of 12. For added difficulty, use a chair that is closer to the ground. For an even more difficult variation, do the squats without a chair.
Although intense cardio can be harmful to one’s joints, especially as they age, light cardio on soft surfaces such as a track or artificial turf can benefit individuals who don’t have a history of serious lower body or leg injuries. A great way to get some cardio in is to lightly jog laps on a turf football field. The turf provides a soft cushion for your joints when your foot hits the ground. This helps minimize the wear and tear normally associated with running. As a reminder, if you have any lingering injuries make sure that you are fully healed before you run. The aforementioned alternatives can accomplish the same goals that running provides.
*As always, SplitFit recommends you consult with your healthcare professional before beginning any exercise program.
Image Credits: https://www.pexels.com/photo/couple-elderly-man-old-34761/