Physical fitness is foundational for senior wellness. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things seniors can do for their health. It is proven to prevent many of the health problems that come with age. And it helps support mental wellbeing for people of all ages. However, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that by age 75, the majority of seniors don’t engage in any physical activity. That’s especially unfortunate because when seniors stay active, they can expect a greater quality of health and increased confidence.
Experts say older adults should get involved with a moderate exercise regimen including strength training each week. Unfortunately less than one-third of older adults follow this recommendation. And while some older adults are concerned about sports-related injuries, the health benefits of an active lifestyle far outweigh the risks. Regular physical activity and exercise for older adults improves both mental and physical health which helps seniors maintain their independence as they age. While exercise is good for you no matter your age, there are some group exercises that are easier for seniors than others, such as Pilates, yoga, aerobics, and Zumba.
Pilates & Yoga
Many forms of exercise can be hard on seniors. However, Pilates and yoga involve low-impact, gentle mid-range movements, making them ideal for seniors. The core movements in Pilates can help older adults with balance and coordination as well as building strength. Yoga is becoming increasingly popular among older adults. Its combination of breathing, movement, and meditation supports overall well-being. Gentle and restorative yoga classes, or chair yoga are great for all seniors – even those with limited range of motion or mobility issues – making it perfect for daily practice.
Aerobic or cardio exercise gets your heart rate up – pumping more blood and oxygen to your muscles and body – supporting both heart and lung health. Whether you participate in a group aerobics class, water aerobics, ballroom dancing, a tennis match, a game of pickleball or a brisk walk or hike, a cardio workout offers tremendous health benefits for your body and brain.
Zumba is more than a fun dance-like exercise set to music, it’s a great way for seniors to socialize too. And while it’s a low-impact exercise, it delivers a full-body workout engaging every muscle group. And it can really get the heart pumping – helping to build endurance and increase stamina.
Seniors who stay fit and active are generally healthier, mentally and physically. Exercise has been proven to decrease overall deterioration of health, allowing seniors to remain independent longer. Physical fitness can also decrease the risk of stroke, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, depression, and dementia. Exercise improves your strength, flexibility, and posture, which in turn can help with your balance and coordination. That’s why it helps decrease the risk of falls and fall-related injuries. The good news is that it’s never too late to start exercising.
Learn why even older adults who have lived a sedentary life will experience great health benefits from making fitness a daily habit:
- Prevents physical injuries
- Reduces the risk of chronic illnesses
- Maintains a healthy weight
- Lowers blood pressure
- Relieves stress
- Boosts the immune system
- Improves mobility, flexibility, and balance
- Reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke
- Manages diabetes
- Builds bone density
- Improves breathing and circulation
- Promotes better sleep
- Alleviates symptoms of arthritis
- Improves neurocognitive function
- Enhances digestive health
- Lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Slows or reverses the effects of Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis
Exercise is good for us all and it’s an important healthy lifestyle habit that can support greater independence as we age. It’s simply a matter of making it part of our daily routines – whether it’s walking the dog, riding your bike, seasonal yard work and gardening, strength training with resistance bands, or an aerobics home video workout. The best workout for you is the one you enjoy. If haven’t been active, start slowly and work your way up to your goal. How much exercise you need depends upon your age and health.
As with any exercise regimen, consult your doctor first, to determine the best and safest activities for you.
Copeland Oaks Wellness
At Copeland Oaks, we want all our seniors to be healthy and enjoy an active retirement – mind, body, and spirit. That’s why we offer so many activities and events that promote wellness – from recreational sports to group exercise classes, individual fitness opportunities, and more. In our wellness center and aquatic center we have something for every senior – including exercise classes, personal training, an indoor pool, and a fitness room with senior-safe equipment.