Why do the elderly fall more than any other age group? As people age, they tend to exercise less, which puts them at higher risk for injury. A decrease in physical activity, combined with bone loss and lax muscle tone, are the main reasons why.
The National Council on Aging says that fatal and non-fatal falls are the most common cause of injury among seniors. Although it seems as if the deck of cards might be stacked against seniors – it doesn’t have to be. In fact, seniors can help lower this statistic by staying physically active.
Check with your doctor first before starting any exercise regimen to avoid any potential for injury. Once you get the green light, it’s time to break a sweat. Get started with these nine workouts for older adults and take back your health.
Benefits of Seniors Staying Fit
Before you get started with an exercise regimen, you should know about the numerous benefits exercise provides. Here are just a handful of pluses:
- Reduces fall risk
- Can live independently longer
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces risk for heart disease
- Reduces risk for diabetes
- Reduces risk for colon cancer
- Reduces risk for high blood pressure
- Reduces anxiety and depression symptoms
- Strengthens bones, muscles, and ligaments
- Reduces arthritis pain
Not only does exercise lower physical ailments and disease, but it’s also an excellent antidote for mental illness issues the aging experience.
Nine Workouts for Older Adults
It’s important to remember to ease back into an exercise program, especially after an injury or being inactive for a longer period of time. Start off with five to 10 minutes a day and work your way up from there. Below are nine workouts to try in your home gym or outside.
1. Tai Chi
The ancient Chinese practice of tai chi is one that involves both body and mind. The controlled gentle movements are easy to incorporate into your daily schedule and can be done anywhere – your living room, the park, or in a group setting. Tai chi helps build muscle tone, blood flow, and flexibility.
New to yoga? Hatha, Sivananda, and Iyengar yoga are the three best yoga practices to try. Core strength, stability, and flexibility are just a handful of benefits yoga provides.
Because of yoga’s weight-bearing exercises, there is also the potential to build bone strength and keep osteoporosis at bay. Not only that, but the meditative quality benefits your mind too.
This low-impact form of exercise is similar to yoga because of its ability to build core muscle strength and stability in older adults. Pilates is a versatile type of exercise that can be done in the privacy of your own home or in a group class. Some pilates studios use a machine called the “reformer” which uses a pulling a pushing motion with cables.
Cycling is one of the top forms of low-impact exercise, especially for individuals with previous injuries. The health benefits of riding an exercise bike indoors are great: improved cardiovascular health, limited risk of injury, and strengthens hips and legs.
Once you’re more comfortable, it’s time to work your way up to outdoor cycling for the ultimate nature trek. A great way to meet new friends is to join a weekly cycling group and explore new areas of town together.
Swimming is a practically perfect form of exercise for all ages. Not only is it a low-impact and gentle way to get your cardio on, but it’s also low-risk for potential injury. Because bones and joints are more susceptible in seniors for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, swimming is a top choice for building bone mass.
6. Weight Training with a Personal Trainer
Hiring a personal trainer has numerous benefits, so take full advantage of their expertise. Not only will you grow stronger, but you’ll learn some valuable weight training knowledge to help build your confidence. Among the top benefits of weight training for older adults are rebuilding muscle strength, improved bone density, boosting metabolism, decreased diabetes risk, improved arthritis symptoms, and increased flexibility.
7. Resistance Band Training
You’ve probably seen these rubberband-like items lying around at the gym… but weren’t exactly sure how to use them, right? Resistance band training is like a distant relative of weight training and is a great place for beginners to start building muscle strength. Resistance bands are inexpensive and easy to use and there are a ton of YouTube videos to watch to learn how they work.
8. Ballroom Dancing
Talk about a fun way to get your exercise in. Not only is ballroom dancing a great social activity, but it’s also a wonderful way to get your heart rate pumping. Ballroom dancing helps strengthen your bones and muscles while improving your balance and motor skills.
Walking is one of the easiest places to start when incorporating more exercise back into your life. It’s free, accessible, and has numerous health benefits. There are several health apps you can use to track the recommended 10,000 steps a day needed to log for optimum health. Walking a total of just five miles a day can substantially slash your risk for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Ready to Blast Those Senior Aging Statistics?
We hope you found some great options in our selection of nine workouts for older adults. Staying healthy as a senior means incorporating a regular exercise regiment into your daily life. Not only will you grow stronger but you’ll help improve your mental health too.
Whether you’re looking for guidance training for your next triathlon or just need some health or exercise inspiration, we’ve got you covered. Remember to check out our blog regularly for the latest triathlon trends and news.