It’s certainly no secret that exercise is good for the body, but many seniors incorrectly assume they’ve passed the point of reaping the benefits. In reality, physical activity and exercise are always a good idea. Staying active offers a wide-variety of health benefits to seniors, such as reducing the impact of illness or chronic disease, increasing mobility and balance, improving sleep, boosting self-confidence, stimulating brain activity and more.
The type of exercise that’s most beneficial varies according to a number of factors, including health concerns. For this group, it’s especially important to start slow, set short-term goals and stick to a schedule to effectively make physical activity a regular occurrence. Healthcare professionals can and should play an important role in helping and encouraging seniors to start such exercise programs.
Here are 5 of the many ways for the seniors to engage in physical activity.
If there’s a safe place to do, it’s great exercise for seniors to walk laps for 30 minutes each day. Many malls also open early, before most of the stores, serving as another excellent place to walk. Regular cardio workouts help reduce fatigue and shortness of breath.
Regularly participating in yoga classes is a great way for seniors to increase their flexibility and balance. Yoga stretches are designed to keep the muscles and joints active, keeping them healthy and decreasing the risk of injury. This reduces the risk of sustaining an injury while performing everyday tasks.
3. Water Aerobics
Taking exercise into the water reduces stress and strain on the joints, decreasing the risk of becoming injured. It’s a great way to increase cardiovascular health and build upper and lower body strength. This low-impact workout can be good for seniors who aren’t currently very active to ease their way into exercising.
4. Strength and Power Training
Strength training builds muscle, helps to prevent loss of bone mass and improves balance. This exercise can actually be completed at home, using body weight, elastic bands and free weights. It’s a great way to build speed, prevent falls, lift objects around the house and stay independent. Seniors who are wheelchair bound can participate in this activity too.
5. Tai Chi
This Chinese-inspired practice can help the elderly improve both their mental and physical well-being. It’s a non-strenuous activity, so it doesn’t put any added pressure on the muscles and those with physical limitations can also join in. Tai Chi works to increase the flow and energy throughout the body and can effectively relieve pain, reduce arthritis symptoms, lower blood pressure, improve balance, strengthen the lower body and more.
For Healthcare Professionals Working With Seniors
Are you a nurse or a nursing student who is committed to helping seniors enjoy longer and healthier lives? Mark your calendar for the complimentary April continuing education webinar series and course, Young at Heart, Sponsored by South University and conducted by Nurse.com. The three webinars cover a variety of topics centered on seniors, including Signs of Aging and Geriatric Warning Signs, An In-Depth Look at Identifying and Managing Delirium in the Geriatric Population and Physical Activity and Exercise. Register today!