When you were a child, your parents told you to get out and exercise. When you were an adult you stayed fit with a daily workout. Now that you’re retired, it would be great if you could retire from exercise too but…alas, in order to achieve a healthy, active lifestyle for the remainder of your years, you have to keep up a consistent exercise regimen. In some ways, exercising as a senior is more important than in any other time in your life. Senior exercise should be different than how you used to workout when you were middle aged and vastly different than when you were a child. In order to strengthen your balance, to avoid falling down and then be able to get back up, you have to find exercises that target strength training, endurance, balance and your flexibility.
As a senior citizen, it is undeniable that skin, bones and muscles are more fragile than they used to be. If for any reason you should have a fall, chances are your skin, bones or muscles could be injured. If you were to fall, all you can do is hope that you don’t dislocate a shoulder or break any bones. The physical therapy involved in recovering from a devastating injury of that nature takes twice as long to recover from now than they did when you were middle aged. Most of time, for anyone over the age of sixty, these are injuries that never completely heal. The best way prevent falls and devastating injuries such as these is to exercise your balance. Simply targeting specific muscles can keep you standing tall and balanced. We understand, exercise is tiresome and rarely fun. Who wants to go stand in a smelly gym for hours and practice balancing? Just because it is called exercise doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. You can improve your balance through enjoyable, low impact, physical activity. Say you loved to go out dancing with your friends and you and your partner could cut a rug like no one else. Pilates is a form of exercise that uses the fundamentals of dance and stretching. Take everything you know about dance and apply it though pilates for an easy, enjoyable stretch you already know how to do. Or if you would like to become more relaxed and centered, yoga offers stretches that strengthen your core muscles while you practice relaxed breathing and centered, reflective focus.
It used to be you could run for hours. Now, it isn’t so easy to get running at all. You used to swim laps across the pool. Now you can barely dog paddle. You used to enjoy dancing but now you can hardly get through one song. That isn’t entirely an effect of age. Low endurance can happen at any time in your life and at the moment, your endurance is simply a little out of shape. If you really want to get up and moving for a long time, you can easily improve your endurance through a regular exercise regimen involving cardio. Cardio exercise is defined simply as consistent muscle movement which is sustained over a long period of time. This movement is meant to keep your heart rate to at least 50% of its maximum impact. Simply saying, you don’t have to get your heart pumping, just thumping to get exercise. Combine that with repetitively moving muscles and you have yourself a cardio workout. Go on a walk, wade in the pool, start dancing or enjoy gardening outside. You can chose whatever you like. Just so long as it is something you enjoy, it gets you up and moving and gets your heart thumping and bumping. Perform your favorite cardio activity thirty minutes a day. If that is too often, start off enjoying your cardio activity just three times a week and build up from there. You will be amazed by how far you’ll be able to walk, swim or how much gardening you’ll get done.
It’s not just you. We all have trouble bending over to tie our shoes. Our bodies naturally become rigid and less flexible as we grow older. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to accept your natural inflexibility. You can fight back with some simple exercises that push your flexibility right down to your toes. Target each part of your body. Start with your neck by tilting it from one side to the other. Stretch out your shoulders by pulling your arm across your chest and reach to the opposite wall. Sit down and twist your back until you feel a stretch in your side. Just make sure you do only what is comfortable and make sure you research the correct way to perform any stretch. When you move your muscles consistently, they’ll loosen up.