The Importance of Exercise for Seniors

Whatever our age, physical activity is important to maintain our well-being. After the age of fifty an absence of exercise can have an adverse effect on our body, so we should pay more attention to looking after ourselves.

Aging changes our body. We tend to become physically less active. Some functions such as metabolism slow down, joints might not be as supple as they once were, we might be experiencing a medical condition or two, put on some weight. Aging is no picnic.senior fitness with dumbells

The good news though, is that we can get our bodies to run more smoothly by introducing a regular exercise program into our daily routines. This will invigorate both our mental and physical abilities and have a noticeable effect on our quality of life.

But you shouldn’t just jump straight in, especially if your lifestyle has been sedentary for some time. You need to do a few things first:

Before you get started consult your doctor. This can’t be emphasized enough. Your doctor knows that exercise for seniors is important, and can advise if any exercise routines are inappropriate for your state of health, as well as give you advice about diet and movement.

senior fitness cyclingWhen considering what activities to engage in, be realistic about your choices and know your limitations. You need exercises that will work your muscles without stressing your shoulders, lower back, elbows, hips and knees. So choose a form of exercise that is a good fit with your current state of health.

You should also be aware that good nutrition is an essential accompaniment to exercise, for it to give you maximum benefit. You may need to make some adjustments to your eating habits to get the best out of your new fitness regime.

When you decide on a form of exercise, ease yourself into it gently. You are more inclined to persevere if you proceed at your own pace.

When you’ve decided on following a particular senior fitness program, and before you launch yourself enthusiastically into your first exercise session, here are some things to consider:

  • Understand as much about the activity before you start. You may need some specialist advice rather than just going it alone.
  • Take the time to learn how to run through your routines properly. You won’t want to experience any unnecessary muscle strain or damage, because you haven’t warmed up properly, for example.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Even for something as simple as walking you will need a pair of comfortable shoes to prevent chaffing and blisters.
  • Keep water to hand and drink plenty of it. It’s important to keep hydrated at all times you exercise, especially when the weather’s hot. As you lose water and electrolyte through perspiration, you need constant replenishment to avoid getting cramps and to maintain your endurance. Water keeps you alert and replenishes your muscle and body tissues.
  • Listen to what your body tells you. If you feel any pain or dizziness it’s time to relax and take a short break. Take things slowly to start with and build up your endurance gradually.

We need to keep active as we get older. Exercising will increase the strength in our limbs, keep our brain alert and our heart healthy, and help control our weight. The benefits are significant. Being a senior doesn’t make exercise less important, quite the opposite in fact, but you do need to go about things properly when you introduce a regular form of exercise into your daily life.

Even if you’ve never exercised before, there will be some activity you can engage in. Exercise really is the key to healthy aging. You owe it to yourself to see what you can do.

And for frail or chair-bound seniors who might just be thinking that there isn’t any senior fitness program that is suitable for them. Well, think again. Watch this video of a gentle daily exercise routine that is followed in Japan.