Senior Fitness Exercises – How to Stay Fit As You Age

A recent study on the fitness of older women has found that regular senior fitness exercises can help them in keeping balance and preventing falls. The study was conducted on elderly women who had reduced bone density levels.

Osteoporosis is a disease where there is a steady loss of bone density. It mainly affects elderly women and makes them more prone to fractures. It was reported in September end 2010 that a study conducted by Dr.Korpelainen and a team of researchers in Finland noted the benefits of senior fitness exercises on older women in reducing the chances of fractures.

The aging process brings with a general decline in the ability to do things that we took for granted in our young age. As muscles wear out and diseases such as diabetes and heart conditions set in, a lot of senior citizens see a marked reduction in activity and fitness levels. The reduced activity levels actually exacerbate disorders such as diabetes. Senior fitness exercises can help in maintaining activity levels of elderly people and also keep effects of diseases such as diabetes in check.

Dr.Korpelainen reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine that older women who did senior fitness exercise program had better strength and balance. This made it possible for them to reduce the impact of falls and therefore any resultant fractures.

Let’s look at how older people can benefit from a senior fitness exercises program.

Five Reasons to do Senior Fitness Exercises

  • Maintain your independence – Old age may bring with it a dependence on others for doing basic chores, going shopping or even taking a walk for some seniors. Doing regular fitness exercises can help you be physically independent and do as much of your work as possible.
  • Improve your strength – As you age, you may find it difficult to do simple things such as lifting your toddler grandchildren or open a bottle cap. It is vital to do exercises that can focus on improving your strength. The physical strength can also lead to more mental strength as you will be more confident of your abilities.
  • Keep your balance – Old people often have problems with balance and this leads to falls resulting in fractures and injuries. Specialized exercises focussing on improving balance can help mitigate the risk of falls.
  • Control diseases – For diseases such as Diabetes, fitness exercises can help keep sugar levels in check. A senior fitness exercises program, in consultation with a doctor, can be specifically tailored towards controlling certain diseases.
  • Keep an active social life – Doing senior fitness exercises can help you be in socializing activities such as attending get-togethers and picnics. You can also meet friends over a game of tennis, a long walk or even do volunteer work.

Senior Fitness Exercises Tips – Getting Started

Embarking on a senior fitness exercises program needs some essential planning. Here are some senior fitness exercises tips to keep in mind as you seek out an exercise regime.

  • List out your conditions and limitations – Before you decide to start an exercise program, make a list of conditions that you suffer from such as high sugar, high blood pressure etc.
  • Consult your doctor – Get your doctor’s advice on the kind of exercises you can or cannot do and how best to achieve your fitness goals. They may also point out focus areas such doing balance exercises or strength improving workouts.
  • See a professional fitness trainer if needed – A fitness trainer can help you structure an exercise program appropriate for your health condition and needs. He or she may help you set short term and long term goals regarding physical fitness.
  • Stop if you experience problematic symptoms – If during your senior fitness exercises, you have breathing difficulties, pain or pressure in the chest or a fainting sensation, stop your exercises and consult a doctor regarding these symptoms.

Senior Fitness Exercises Tips – General Exercises and Senior Fitness Equipment

Senior fitness exercises focus on improving three qualities – strength, stamina and balance. Let’s look at some general exercises, which can improve specific physical fitness qualities.

  • Lifting exercises – Lifting exercises can increase your strength. You can either use special senior fitness equipment such as weights – dumbbells or you can use objects from your home. Start out with minimal weight and progress to lifting heavier weights slowly.
  • Resistance training – This helps in improving muscle strength. Senior fitness equipment such as resistance bands can be used. Resistance bands are light and portable and are preferred to weights by many older people. Resistance training using aquatic senior fitness equipment can help reduce the pressure on joints.
  • Walking and Jogging – Brisk walking and jogging can help you increase your stamina and endurance levels. Initially, you may be soon breathless and have a quick heart rate when doing these exercises. After some time, you will find that you are able to walk and jog with ease and can go on for longer periods. They give you the stamina and endurance to walk and jog greater distances.
  • Standing on Single Leg – senior fitness exercises such as the single leg exercise can help you in maintaining your balance. Stand in front of some support such as a wall or back of a chair. Hold on to the support, while lifting the foot of one leg off the ground. Stand on one leg in this posture for around 5 seconds. Then bring your foot down and repeat with the other leg.
  • Walking backward – A popular exercise in China, walking backward can improve balance in older people.

Senior fitness exercises using Yoga or Tai Chi also help older people improve their physical abilities and quality of life. The National Institute of Aging provides comprehensive information on fitness for older people.