It becomes challenging to maintain a fitness routine as we age. As we get older our bodies begin to slow down and it’s harder to move around when there are mobility issues to consider.
But staying physically active is important to a happy, healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but with gentle exercises Seniors can benefit greatly from stretches and movements that will get their hearts pumping.
There are so many benefits to staying physically active as we age, from reduced blood pressure to lower stress levels and decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Seniors who refrain from physical activity experience loss of strength and stamina attributed to aging, and many men and women over the age of 75 often don’t engage in physical activity at all.
Consider these great ways to promote healthy aging through physical activity.
Chair yoga is an excellent way for Seniors to stretch and work on breathing exercises, particularly if they have mobility issues that prevent them from being able to stand up for long periods of time.
There are outstanding home care services in Toronto that provide Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and specialized Caregivers who know how to get Seniors moving, even if they’re seated in a chair!
In fact, some Seniors may be able to get more out of yoga than younger students. The brain’s two hemispheres are used more equally as we age, and we’re able to bring a better overall awareness to the practice of yoga, thus utilizing the mind-body connection more effectively than younger people.
Take a look these poses that you can practice at home.
Seniors can be at risk of falling and should focus on exercises that maintain or improve balance. There is an increase risk of falling when older adults have trouble walking or have experienced falls in the recent past.
Participating in regular physical activity is safe for older adults and it also helps reduce the risk of falls.
It’s recommended that older adults engage in balance training three or more days a week and do standardized exercises from a program that has been demonstrated to reduce falls.
Examples of balance exercises:
Standing from a sitting position
Consider the value of a PSW to accompany you as you attempt these exercises.
Joining a walking club, participating in a weekly aqua fit program, or any sort of activity that encourages sociability is not only great for the body but also for the mind.
Interacting with people and engaging in stimulating conversation is great for the brain, especially because many Seniors suffer from isolation and loneliness.
And, social activities will get their hearts pumping and muscles activated. If a wheelchair is required, there are many organizations and clubs that can accommodate so that everyone can participate and get involved.
Remember to start slowly when you or the Senior in your life begins exercising! Aim for light or moderate intensity for short periods of time.
Spread out the physical activity sessions throughout the course of a week, and then gradually increase the activity over a period of weeks to months.
Of course, talk to your loved one’s doctor if there is a chronic health condition involved before starting any sort of physical activity program.