The benefits of exercise for seniors are well documented. Exercise is essential to keeping our minds agile, and it helps lessen the impact of aging on our bodies as well. Taking care of our minds and bodies helps us to maintain our independence, and staying active makes it easier to enjoy our golden years as well.
Staying active and exercising as a senior doesn’t mean you have to get a gym membership. In fact, having equipment at home makes it easier for you to get moving on a regular basis. This regular exercise can help slow down age-related muscle loss, reduce stress, and help alleviate depression.
As with anything new you add to your routine that can impact your health, it is a good idea to ask your doctor about what’s best for you and what your limits should be. When you have your doctor’s blessing, it is easier to embrace exercise with confidence.
Benefits of Exercise for Seniors
There are several benefits to exercise for seniors. As long as you are operating within the guidelines that you and your doctor have discussed, there’s no reason not to enjoy exercise and reap the benefits.
According to the CDC, regular exercise for older adults is encouraged, and you can expect to notice these benefits when you exercise regularly:
- Reduced risk of falling
- Reduce the risk for coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes
- Reduce blood pressure for people suffering from hypertension
- Improve stamina and muscle strength
- Improve mood and feelings of well-being
- Maintain the health of bones, muscles, and joints
- Control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis
The Best Equipment
For seniors wanting to stay active and improve their overall health, it’s important to know what is the best equipment for seniors to get the most out of their exercise. Here are some of the best pieces of equipment to consider for exercising as a senior:
It may sound simple, but walking is one exercise that most of us can do, even on our worst days. Having a good pair of walking shoes or several good pairs can make it easier to make walking a priority.
If you don’t do anything else that day, do a little walking. Aim for about 150 minutes of walking each week in addition to any other exercise you may do. There are so many benefits to walking, and it’s one of the key factors to maintaining your independent lifestyle.
Walking a low-injury risk activity, and you can further reduce your risk of injury by wearing good walking shoes when you go. Make sure that you check or ask a salesperson to help you make sure that the shoes are made specifically for walking to give you the support you need.
In addition to walking, the best low-impact cardio for seniors has got to be the elliptical. Cardio exercise or aerobic exercise, as you can imagine, is good for your heart. Regular cardio exercise can strengthen your heart and your blood vessels.
Cardio exercise and being active also give you more energy, and the endorphins released from exercise combats stress hormones and encourages healthy sleep. While walking is low-impact, you can’t always easily reach a pace that will increase your heart rate effectively while remaining low-impact on your joints.
In order to get the cardio workout you want, running would seem to be the next step, but running is not low-impact. Running can actually cause pain and injury to even younger adults, and it can contribute to your pain and sideline you.
An elliptical bike will give you the cardio benefits of running or swimming, and it is extremely low impact. It is easy on your joints, and it is a great way to rehabilitate after an injury. Elliptical bikes can help increase circulation, which, besides improving your heart health, can really assist in injury recovery and promote well-being from other ailments that older adults experience, like arthritis.
The Unique Qualities of Ellipticals
Ellipticals give you a total-body workout. Strengthening your upper and lower body is great, but strengthening your core will give you better control of your center of balance and lower your risk of falls. Targeting your core with other activities can be hard to do without putting additional pressure on your back, but on the elliptical, your posture is natural. So, you can engage your core without risking injury.
The outdoor elliptical bike, like the StreetStrider, can also be used outside or inside so it can be used year round. Not only can you reap the multiple health benefits of exercise, you can relieve stress, and feel revitalized by being outside and enjoying some fresh air and sunlight.
Another exciting aspect of the outdoor elliptical bike is the added social opportunities. The outdoor elliptical bike fits on a bike path, and it keeps your posture in an upright, natural position. So, you and your friends can get together for some fun in the sun to keep you feeling young and healthy.
No matter how healthy you are, age-related muscle loss can impact you. Until around age 30, muscles grow larger and stronger. After that, though, at some point, you begin to lose your muscle mass. This is known as age-related sarcopenia.
Muscle loss is the result of a sedentary lifestyle, an unbalanced diet, inflammation, and severe stress. As we get older, we tend to slow down in our activity levels, and the other common ailments that come with age tend to put our bodies under stress and increase inflammation.
We can’t always avoid the effects of aging, but diet and exercise are two ways we can help control the speed of those effects and alleviate some of their burdens. When you’re staying active with cardiovascular activities, it is still important to incorporate strengthening exercises to improve and retain muscle mass.
What Makes Dumbbells So Great?
A set of dumbbells is a great piece of equipment for anyone to keep on hand at any age. For older adults, dumbbells offer specific benefits. It’s important to choose a weight that is right for you and your abilities, and you may find that having three sets of varying weights is actually best for you.
Remember when you’re implementing strength training to give yourself time to rest and recover between sessions. Choosing the right weight and taking the time to rest can help prevent injury, and with the right application of weight training, you can really improve your overall health.
Strength training can improve your upper and lower body strength, improve your joint health, give you better balance and stability, keep or build bone density, and help you maintain a healthy weight. A set of dumbbells at home is convenient, and you can decide when you need to rest and when you’re ready to get back at it.
In addition to the health benefits, keeping your muscles engaged can help you do other things you love, like picking up the new grandbaby with ease, lifting your famous casserole out of the oven, or keeping your golf swing on par to beat your buddies.
Staying active and living a healthy lifestyle as a senior doesn’t require a ton of equipment or commitment. You can keep yourself happy and healthy with a good pair of running shoes, an elliptical, and a set of dumbbells.
Consistent and regular exercise or activity for thirty minutes every day can give you health benefits, both inside and out, that your doctor just can’t prescribe. Finding ways to be healthy and active can help you enjoy your golden years in ways you never thought possible.