Exercise Tips For Seniors to Maintain Strength, Flexibility & Balance

At Capital Senior Living, we understand that as we age it is important to maintain the strength, flexibility and balance needed to continue living a fruitful life.  Residents of our Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care communities are encouraged and have the freedom to participate in recreational programs that include wellness, walking, balance and exercise classes. The physical activity asserted during these programs is meant to not only challenge the body but also strengthen your mind, energize your mood and help you manage symptoms of pain or illness. Of course, the physical effects can be rewarding as well. According to helpguide.org, there are four building blocks of senior fitness. They include:

Cardio endurance: Get your heart pumping to help lessen fatigue and shortness of breath by walking, stair climbing, swimming, hiking, cycling, rowing, playing tennis or dancing.

 Strength and power training: Build up muscle with repetitive motion using weights – or any item with weight including soup cans. External resistance from elastic bands also can help. Strength training helps prevent loss of bone mass and improves balance.

 Flexibility: Challenge your body to a full range of motion with stationary stretches such as the ones learned in a yoga class. Flexibility increases your range of movement for everything from checking to your left and right when driving to chasing your grandchildren around one of our well-manicured courtyards.

Balance: Improve your posture and reduce the risk of falling when strengthening your core. Yoga and Tai Chi are recommended.

As seniors age, they may use excuses such as “I have recurring health problems” or “I’m concerned about falling” or even “I’ve never done it before, so why should I do it now” to avoid exercise at all costs. That’s even more reason to get them motivated.

Exercise is the key to staying strong and energetic – and can be fun especially when participating with friends within your community. So, how should you get started? The answer is simple: slowly. Try a 10-minute workout twice a day and build up to a tempo that keeps you challenged but doesn’t leave you completely burned out or fatigued. Also, make sure you talk with your doctor before beginning any new exercise plan.

A few types of activities that can be beneficial include:

Walking: The only equipment it requires are your two feet enveloped by comfortable walking shoes. Many of Capital Senior Living communities are surrounded by walking paths with well-landscaped courtyards, so get out and smell the roses when the weather is nice. Walking is the perfect way to ease into a more regular exercise routine. If you don’t enjoy the outdoors or the weather gets  too hot or cold in your city, take advantage of the courtesy transportation many of our communities offer and head to the mall to do a couple of laps while window shopping.

Fitness classes: Check with your community liaison to find out if and when classes are offered. If a local senior center is around your Capital Senior Living community, pay a visit and check out their class offerings. It’s a great way to meet new people and make everlasting friends.

Water aerobics: Water reduces the stress and strain on the body, so see if a local YMCA or YWCA has classes especially for older adults. A local senior center also may have some suggestions as to where to find low- to no-cost classes for those on a fixed income.

Something very important to keep in in mind is that exercise shouldn’t be a chore or dreaded. If you haven’t found joy in the program you are currently doing, try something different. You will find the right balance that keeps you happy while at the same time keeps you in shape.

Sources: www.helpguide.org/life/senior_fitness_sports.htm

This website contains information, facts, opinions and recommendations of various individuals and organizations regarding senior care, health, nutrition and exercise. Capital Senior Living and its affiliates, agents and licensors cannot, and do not, guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose of, or otherwise endorse, any opinions or recommendations, nor does Capital Senior Living constitute the giving of medical, health or fitness advice. Users of the website must consult their physicians regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to their conditions.