Regular physical exercise is essential for senior citizens who want to extend their lifespan and maintain their quality of life. Many seniors are not getting the minimum amount of physical activity that the government recommends.
In fact, one survey found that 28 percent of Americans over the age of 50 (that’s about 31 million people) are inactive.
If you’re part of this group, it’s important to take steps to increase your activity and boost your overall health.
Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry.
Listed below are some great tips that will help you make fitness after 50 easy.
The Importance of Regular Exercise for Seniors
First, it’s important to understand exactly why regular exercise is so important for older adults. Some seniors think that, because they’re not concerned about aesthetics, they don’t need to exercise.
The importance of physical fitness goes way beyond fitting into a certain pants size, though.
Some of the greatest health benefits that come with regular physical activity include:
- Reduces risk of falls and fractures
- Helps seniors maintain their ability to live independently
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Reduces risk of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes and cancer
- Improves strength and stamina in people who already suffer from chronic illness
- Improves mood and relieves symptoms of anxiety
- Helps seniors maintain strong, healthy bones, muscles, and joints
Some seniors might argue that they can’t exercise because they suffer from arthritis or chronic pain. In reality, though, exercise can help minimize their pain and reduce swelling and inflammation.
Tips for Maintaining Physical Fitness after 50
At this point, you’re probably convinced that getting more exercise is a good idea. But, how do you go about getting started?
If you’ve been out of the game for a while, it can be hard to know what the right approach is for you. Follow these guidelines, though, and you’ll find that it’s much easier to get and stay active.
Get a Doctor’s Clearance
Exercise is great for your overall health, but it’s important to get clearance from your doctor before you begin an exercise routine.
Your doctor will take your current health status into account and will be able to tell you if there are any types of exercise that you ought to avoid. They may also be able to recommend physical therapists or personal trainers to help you learn proper technique and avoid injury.
Start Slow and Remember to Rest
Whether you want to take up running or try yoga for the first time, remember to ease into any new workout plan.
If you’re taking a class, talk to the instructor and let them know that you’re a beginner. They’ll be sure to keep an eye on you and give you extra attention to help you prevent injuries.
Start slow isn’t only about not getting hurt, though. When you ease into a workout routine, you’re more likely to stick with it long term. Taking on too much too soon can cause you to feel overwhelmed or burned out, neither of which is good for making a sustainable lifestyle change.
Remember to allow yourself rest days, too. Your body needs time to repair and recover.
Find a Partner
Working out with a partner is one of the best ways to stay accountable and make sure you’re meeting the minimum daily exercise requirements. Go to a class together or walk together around the neighborhood.
You can also keep each other accountable from afar. Make a plan to call or text each other when you’ve finished your workout.
Even housebound seniors can still find ways to exercise. If you have an aid from an agency like Families Choice Home Care who comes to help you with daily chores and activities, have them supervise or help you out with basic exercises. For example, they can accompany you on a walk or provide support while you do light resistance training.
Look for Local Activities
If you’re not sure where to turn when you’re starting a new exercise routine, consider looking for local fitness activities in your community.
Your local senior center may offer fitness classes or group training. You can also find local walking groups if you want to make hikes or nature walks a regular part of your schedule.
If you have friends who exercise regularly, you can also ask them what they like to do and see if you can tag along. You’ll get to socialize with people you love and get a good workout in — it’s a win-win!
Make Sure You Have A Balanced Workout Plan
The best workout plans will feature a mix of a few different types of exercise:
- Cardiovascular exercise — exercises like walking or jogging that get your heart rate up and improve your endurance
- Strength training — weightlifting or bodyweight exercises that help strengthen your muscles
- Flexibility training — stretching exercises that help improve your ability to move your joints through a full range of motion
- Balance training — exercises that challenge and improve your stability
An exercise routine that includes these four components will help you see the best results from your workouts. Try to address each one at least once a week.
Staying mindful while exercising can help you get more out of your workouts. Don’t zone out and wait for the workout to end, focus inward and pay attention to how your body feels while you exercise.
Think about your breath, how your feet feel when they hit the ground, how your muscles feel as you lift a weight, etc.
All this will help you stay in the moment to avoid injuries or accidents. You’ll also experience more stress- and anxiety-relieving benefits from your training when you do this.
Looking for More Fitness Advice?
As you can see, prioritizing fitness after 50 doesn’t have to be hard. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to getting in better shape.
Do you want to learn more about staying fit and establishing an exercise routine? If so, check out our other blog posts on living a healthy lifestyle for information on diet, exercise, supplements, and more!