The 5 Tips to Follow to Help Stay Active as a Senior
It’s only natural to slow down when you get to a certain age. Health problems, joint pain, being overweight, and even worrying about an injury all contribute to seniors not getting enough exercise. The irony of all of this is that by being less active, these problems are far more likely to cause problems for the senior citizen.
It’s extremely important to be as active as possible at any age. It becomes even more important when our physiology changes from age to help slow down the negative effects. Yet, it isn’t easy to get out and start getting active once you’ve already slowed down.
In this article, we will give you some tips on just how you can get active and enjoy good health well into your golden years.
1 - Get checked out
Before getting started with whatever activity you decide upon, you should go to your doctor and have a checkup. You’ll need to see if you are healthy enough for certain exercises. Hopefully, they find nothing that could prevent you from at least taking some long daily walks. But, they could see something that needs to be dealt with before you can play sports or do some weightlifting at the gym.
This checkup should include everything including vision and hearing. Balance is essential when you are doing physical activity and it is tied directly into how well you see and hear. Your eyeglass prescription may need to be updated so you can clearly see what you are doing when playing a sport or even just going for a walk so you don’t fall and hurt yourself.
Hearing aids may be necessary so you can be spatially aware of everything happening around you. For instance, not being able to hear what is happening around you while out for a jog could be dangerous.
The biggest issue that many seniors face when they decide to start getting active again is that there could be underlying heart issues. This is usually the first thing a doctor will check by ordering an echocardiogram to check out if the heart sounds like it is functioning as it should.
2 - Start with balance
Falls are the number one thing that prevents seniors from living an independent life. It all has to do with balance. There are many reasons for it, but balance is a bit tricky for some seniors.
Before setting out to play a sport, go for regular brisk walks or any other activity it’s important that your balance be good so you don’t fall and injure yourself.
There are a few ways to increase your balance and be active at the same time. For instance, yoga is an ideal activity that not only improves your balance but will help to keep you in shape and flexible in addition.
Good posture is also important for maintaining balance. If your posture is bad then try doing a series of posture exercises. Do them regularly for a few weeks until you feel like your posture has been corrected and you feel more secure on your feet. It’s important to also feel like when you move around that you don’t feel any dizziness so look out for that before continuing on to a workout routine.
3 - Strength training
We’re not talking about bulking up like Arnold Schwarzenegger here. What it does mean is to strengthen up muscles that haven’t been used enough in the last few years. One reason is to improve the aforementioned balance that is so crucial to living independently.
When certain muscles are strengthened, they provide solid support for your movements. Your core is especially important to strengthen as this is the area that governs most of your movements. Agility is increased so you can react faster to being off-balance and be able to right yourself before a fall occurs.
When you do exercises to strengthen muscles, it makes a lot of your daily activities much easier even aside from how it helps you get more active in general. You’ll have more endurance to do things like yard work or cleaning the house. Opening jars will be easier as will lifting things that might have been too heavy earlier.
4 - Cardio exercise
Besides using some weights to strengthen muscles, some attention should be paid to increasing your cardio health by doing activities that work the heart.
Cardiovascular health will give you an enormous amount of benefits. For starters, your immune system will be boosted so you’re less likely to get sick from colds and flu when they are going around. A side bonus is that you will also be able to do everyday activities without getting short of breath. Climbing stairs, walking the dog, and keeping up the grandkids will all become much easier when you have been working on your cardio health.
Do things like brisk walks every day for around 30 minutes to an hour. Dancing is also a fantastic way to work on your cardio while also having a lot of fun. Hiking is another way to go but be careful if your balance is off as it can be easy to fall on a hike.
5 - Get flexible
Being flexible is a wonderful way to stay active during your later years. It opens up a wide range of activities that will increase the quality of life dramatically. You’ll get free range of motion meaning that there are few activities off limits for you.
Yoga is the best exercise to increase flexibility. It is designed to work on tendons and ligaments as those are what cause you to be stiff and inflexible if they are not loosened up. 20 minutes a day of doing stretching exercises is usually enough to see results in a few weeks.
It is tempting to just sit around more when your body complains about getting exercise. Pushing through and staying active is going to pay dividends throughout the rest of your life, however.