Senior Exercise and Fitness Tip

We’ve all heard about how exercising can be extremely beneficial to those at any age, with studies showcasing benefits for heart health, bone health, and mental health. But what if you’re new to exercising and now that you’re in your senior years have concerns regarding your ability to do so? That’s what we’re going to discuss in this article.

Let us take a look at the benefits of exercising (both physical and mental), and how you can overcome your fears with these tips:

What are the physical benefits of exercise?

The obvious benefit to regular exercise at any age is weight loss. As you get older, your metabolism naturally slows down and maintaining a healthy weight can be challenging for some. Therefore, regular exercise can help you increase your metabolism, build muscle mass, and burn more calories.

Other physical benefits include:

  • Reducing the impact of illness and chronic disease: Through regular exercise, people can build up stronger immune systems, regulate blood pressure, improve bone density, and lower their risk for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and so much more.
  • Enhance mobility, flexibility, and balance: Certain exercises such as Yoga, Pilates, or weight training can offer seniors increased mobility, flexibility, and balance by strengthening core muscles and coordination, reducing your risk of falls.
What are the mental benefits of exercise?

When thinking of the mental benefits of exercise, we often think of improved moods and boosted self-confidence. This is because exercise can alleviate stress through an increase of endorphins being produced, which in turn helps reduce feelings of sadness, depression, and anxiety.

Other mental benefits include:

  • Improved quality of sleep: Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply, and wake up feeling revitalised.
  • Improved brain function: Mental exercises such as word games or puzzles can help you keep your brain active. Keeping your brain active through healthy and regular exercise can help you prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia.
Overcoming obstacles keeping you from exercising

Starting or maintaining a regular exercise routine may seem daunting, with concerns about injuries or falls, perhaps you’re worried about your current health problems, or maybe you are concerned about aches and pains. These are normal feelings to have, but it’s important not to let them get in the way of getting started.

How to get into a routine:

  • Join a group: Joining an exercise group can help you feel part of a team, especially if you’re not a fan of exercising alone. In an exercise group, you can motivate one another and challenge each other to excel.
  • Set daily challenges: Exercise doesn’t always mean going to the gym and doing strenuous exercises, it could just mean being more active in your daily life. Set little challenges for yourself, such as taking a walk around the garden, finishing a crossword puzzle, maybe painting a picture. Essentially doing something that keeps your body or mind, or both active.
  • Do something fun: Exercise doesn’t have to be all push-ups and weight training. Today, people can dance, box, or skip their way to a healthier life, so pick something fun to do, which may make it easier for you to stick with it.

It is important for you to enjoy the mental or physical exercise you are partaking in, as this improves the odds of it becoming a routine. If you find yourself dreading doing it, perhaps you should re-evaluate your decision.

Hate exercising? Now what?

When we think of exercise, our minds think gym, lifting weights, doing pull-ups, running on a treadmill, and it sounds exhausting right? But that’s not the case, you can exercise by doing activities you enjoy, such as:

  • Dancing around your home to your favourite tunes on the radio.
  • Walking around the mall whilst window shopping or even walking around the grocery store.
  • Getting competitive whilst watching your favourite sports team play.
  • Play a round of golf with your friends.
  • Taking up bird watching or photography as a hobby.
  • Taking your dog for a walk or maybe volunteering your time at an animal shelter.

These activities are all forms of exercise and can be a precursor to taking on more strenuous forms of physical activity, like enrolling in a Zumba class or joining a group like Park Run. At the end of the day, it’s about changing your mind set and to stop thinking about exercise in the wrong way.

Getting started with exercise safely

Starting an exercise program is one of the healthiest decisions you can make as you age, but it’s important you do so safely. Here are some things you should consider or perhaps ask yourself before you get started:

  • Get medical clearance from your doctor: Consult with your doctor before partaking in any physical activity, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
  • Be aware of your health: If you have a pre-existing condition, you may need to adjust your medication or meal in-take around your exercise program. For example, if you are diabetic, you might need to eat or take your medication before or shortly after your session.
  • Pay attention to your body: Exercise may not always be fun, but it should never hurt you or make you feel lousy. If at any point you feel dizzy, short of breath, break out into a cold sweat, or experience chest pain, you should stop exercising immediately and consult with your doctor.
  • Start slow, there’s no rush: If you haven’t exercised in a while, or ever, don’t start off too bold. Try to take it easy and build up your exercise program a little at a time. For example, you could start exercising once a week, or perhaps 3 times a week at 10-minute increments, then build up to a full class.

As you get into an exercise routine, you will start feeling happier and healthier, ready to take on the world. At Lonehill Manor, we encourage our residents to be a happier and healthier version of themselves by providing a safe place for them to embrace their retirement life.

If you are interested in living a fun and engaging retirement, consider Lonehill Manor.