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Health and Fitness News

Aging and Active

Think you’re too old to exercise? Think again. Try one of these senior exercise programs to get started.

You may be slowing down, but that’s not a reason to stop being active. Health problems, achy joints, and worries about falling are common excuses given by seniors for not exercising. But if you let any of these stop you from working out, you’re missing out on the many health benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle.

Exercise boosts your energy, helps you stay independent, improves your sleep, keeps your metabolism humming, enhances your mobility, and prevents disease. No matter your age, it’s never too late to start an exercise program.
When you’re ready to jump on the exercise train, try these suggestions.

Walk It Out

Many seniors’ exercise of choice is walking—and for good reason. It’s simple, accessible, and requires no special equipment except a supportive pair of shoes. Walking is a low-impact activity so it’s easy on your joints. You can walk anywhere—around the block, around a track, or on the treadmill. Stay accountable and enjoy exercise by meeting a friend several days a week to go walking.

Move in Water

On your own or with a class, water aerobics is an excellent choice for a senior exercise program. The buoyancy of water is soothing and supportive to achy joints. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about pressure or stress on your knees or hips when participating in a water aerobics class. Examples of water aerobic activities include water jogging, flutter kicking, arm curls, leg lifts, and treading water.

Go for Yoga

You may not be flexible or strong, but don’t worry. Yoga is adaptable to your fitness level and physical limitations. With yoga, you’ll improve your balance, flexibility, muscle tone, and strength. Yoga is also known to help relieve anxiety and manage stress.

Join a class designed for seniors to enjoy the social aspect of exercise. If you have limited mobility, look for chair yoga, a type of yoga that incorporates the use of a chair for support in all its poses. Aqua yoga is also a good option for people with arthritis. If you can’t find a class for seniors, try one for beginners.

Hit the Weights

Does the thought of hitting the weight room intimidate you? It shouldn’t. You don’t have to do bench presses and deadlifts if you’re going to lift weights. Weight lifting is recommended for all ages, but it’s a wonderful way for seniors to maintain muscle strength and prevent bone loss. Have a friend or trainer spot you if you’re doing a challenging workout. To avoid injury and get the most out of your workout, make sure you’re using proper form. If dumbbells and barbells aren’t your thing, consider a strength-training workout with resistance bands or bodyweight exercises.

Try Tai Chi

As you age, you’re at a greater risk for falls and injuries. One way to help prevent falls is to work on improving your balance and increasing your strength. If this is one of your health goals, sign up for a tai chi class designed for seniors. Inspired by the martial arts, tai chi incorporates flexibility exercises, strength training, and cardio exercise into a workout that’ll help keep you mobile and independent as your body ages.

Boogie Down

Looking for a fun way to spend an evening and get your exercise? Try ballroom dancing. It’s a fun cardio workout that increases strength, muscle tone, agility, flexibility, and balance. Your instructor can tailor the dance to your ability and fitness level, and dancing provides a way to get both physical and mental exercise. As you learn the steps and stay in sync with your partner, your mind stays active along with your body.