Staying fit and active is important at any age, but regular exercise may be even more beneficial to seniors. Staying active is crucial for seniors to prevent muscle atrophy and bone density deterioration; it helps them to avoid injury and sudden accidents.
Whether it’s finding a way to more effectively manage pre-existing health conditions or finding ways to improve both cognitive and physical health, finding ways to stay active or devising a workout plan or routine that is ideal for older adults can be of tremendous benefit. The dangers of a sedentary lifestyle should never to be taken lightly; and for seniors, those dangers pose even more risks. With proper nutrition and exercise, however, seniors can stay active and happy.
Diet and Nutrition
The first step towards improving physical fitness is often to make changes to eating habits, diets and meal plans. A well-balanced diet that consists of nutritious foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables and ample amounts of lean protein can boost energy levels and help to aid the recovery process following periods of physical exertion. Seniors who suffer from poor eating habits are generally the ones who lose bone density and muscle mass over time.
The key to improving nutrition is to make it easy on yourself. Preparing convenient meal options ahead of time makes it much easier to get the nutrients necessary to live an active lifestyle.
Hobbies and Activities
An active lifestyle doesn’t always mean spending time in the gym; it also simply means finding balance amongst all the things you enjoy. Planting a garden, talking the dog out for a walk or making a standing appoint to go swimming or walking with others are all simple yet effective ways to stay active and engaged while burning a few extra calories.
Hobbies and activities that require light to moderate exertion are a great way to support metabolic function in order to boost energy levels in the long term. Active hobbies can also provide seniors with the chance to get out of the house, stay involved with the world around them or to enjoy leisure pursuits that may be more fulfilling then more sedentary interests.
Cardio and Strength Training
When it comes to exercising, seniors will inevitably have different needs based on their abilities. The thing to remember is that there’s always something that you can do, and the benefits are worth it. Take exercising in a wheelchair, for example: it’s much more realistic than some would believe and can do wonders for strength.
Aerobic exercises are generally a great option for seniors. They engage one or more major muscle group, help joints to retain their range of motion, and also prevent the loss of muscle. While walking, swimming and other low-impact workouts are ideal for seniors who might not be up to a more traditional workout, doing a few sets of sit-ups, pushups and other exercises that utilize body weight for resistance throughout the day can help to build strength and improve cardiovascular health. Workouts that are too aggressive can easily lead to injury, regardless of age, so it is important to take things slowly and establish safe limits from the beginning.
Wearing Proper and Helpful Gear
Older adults will find it more comfortable and convenient to go about their regular exercise when they are dressed for the activity. Shirts and pants ought to provide breathability and moisture-wicking property; the footwear should provide cushioning and support. You can also add compression socks to the list of senior activewear.
These therapeutic socks in varying levels of pressure, such as 15–20 and 20–30 mmHg, may help in improving blood circulation and reducing the risk of blood clots, which may increase with age. Wearing such socks may help reduce swelling and leg fatigue for ease of movement.
Creating a Workout or Fitness Routine
Loss of muscle tissue, bone density or the elasticity of ligaments and connective tissue are all problems associated with aging. While seniors may not be able to recapture the level of strength and endurance they enjoyed in their prime, the right workout routine can still improve health, reduce stress and lead to greater overall quality of life. Consulting with a physician is always the best way to begin any diet or exercise plan, especially for those who are of advanced age or who may suffer from one or more pre-existing medical issues or conditions.