In our last article If Exercise Is So Good For Seniors….. we asked the question, if exercise is good, why are so many seniors not doing it? The health benefits of exercise and physical activity are many. Regular exercise can prevent or delay disease, improve your mood and reduce your chance of injury. So, if you are not exercising, what is your excuse?
In today’s article we talk about how to build a balanced exercise plan that will work for you.
Building a balanced exercise plan
Staying active is not a science. Just remember that mixing different types of physical activity helps to keep your workouts interesting as well as improving your overall health. The key is to find activities that you enjoy—based on the four building blocks of fitness. These are:
Maintains standing and stability, whether you’re stationary or moving around. Try yoga, Tai Chi, and posture exercises to gain confidence with balance. These exercises will help you improve your balance, posture, and quality of your walking. Also reduces risk of falling and fear of falls.
This type of exercise uses large muscle groups in rhythmic motions over a period of time. Cardio workouts get your heart pumping. You may even feel a little short of breath. Cardio includes walking, stair climbing, swimming, hiking, cycling, rowing, tennis, and dancing. These exercises help lessen fatigue and shortness of breath. And, they promote independence by improving endurance for daily activities.
3: Strength and power training
These exercises build up muscle with repetitive motion using weight or external resistance from your body weight, machines, free weights, or elastic bands. Power training is often strength training done at a faster speed to increase power and reaction times. Strength training helps prevent loss of bone mass, builds muscle, and improves balance—both important in staying active and avoiding falls. Power training can improve your speed while crossing the street, for example, or prevent falls by enabling you to react quickly if you start to trip or lose balance. Building strength and power will help you stay independent and make day-to-day activities easier such as opening a jar, getting in and out of a car, and lifting objects.
These exercises challenge the ability of your body’s joints to move freely through a full range of motion. This can be done through stationary stretches and stretches that involve movement to keep your muscles and joints supple and less prone to injury. Yoga is an excellent means of improving flexibility. Flexibility exercises help your body stay limber and increase your range of movement for ordinary physical activities such as looking behind while driving, tying your shoes, shampooing your hair, and playing with your grandchildren.
Types of activities beneficial to older adults:
Walking – Walking is a perfect way to start exercising. It requires no special equipment, aside from a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and can be done anywhere. Get up and walk.
Senior sports or fitness classes – Keeps you motivated while also providing a source of fun, stress relief, and a place to meet friends. You can find senior sports or fitness classes at any of the local senior centers in the Coachella Valley.
Water aerobics and water sports – Working out in water reduces stress and strain on the body’s joints.
Yoga – Combines a series of poses with breathing. Moving through the poses works on strength, flexibility and balance, and can be adapted to any level.
Tai Chi and Qi Gong – Martial arts-inspired systems of movement that increase balance and strength. Classes for seniors are often available at local YMCA or community centers. The Cathedral City Senior Center and Mizell Senior Center both offer classes in Tai Chi and Yoga. Check them out.
What is your plan to stay active?