As we age, we are more susceptible to arthritis, joint pain, stiff muscles and loss of bone density. Exercise is an important method of maintaining your health, fitness level and mobility. However, there are considerations that must be addressed. The way we exercised when we were in our twenties and thirties is not the way we need to be exercising in our later years.Strength training, low impact aerobics and stretching are great ways to keep your body in shape and prevent stiffness and injury, but always talk to your physician when starting a new fitness program and always listen to your body. Your body will let you know when you are overdoing it or doing something that your body is not prepared to do.
- Water Aerobics – Water Aerobics is a fun way to exercise if you suffer from severe joint pain. If you have access to a lap pool, they are usually four feet deep, get in the water and just walk across the pool. The water will relieve the pressure on your joints and the gentle resistance will help increase your strength as you walk across the pool. You can use a jogging belt, which suspends you from the floor so there is no pressure on your feet, ankles and knees. You can also take a water aerobics class or tread water for a set amount of time, which results in a good aerobic workout.
- Chair Exercises – There are many exercises that can be done while sitting in a chair. The first thing you must do is have a chair that is stationary, at normal height and always sit with proper posture. Once you are sitting, you can stand up and sit down while focusing on the proper motion, not plopping down on the chair.Â You can use the arms on the chair if you need assistance and alter the height of the chair based on the difficulty level that you are looking for. This is a great exercise for your legs.Â While sitting, you can do calf raises for your ankles and lower leg muscles.Â If you want to add some upper bodywork, you can use bands that work your upper body, maintaining good posture during all exercises.
- Yoga – Yoga is a good overall body workout because it combines strength training and stretching in one work out and aids in reducing your joint inflammation. Yoga helps with balance, which is another concern as we age. Be sure you are participating in a class that that is appropriate for you with a certified yoga instructor.
- Stretching – Stretching can be done in a variety of ways. You can stretch before you get out of bed by reaching your hands behind your head and reaching as far back as you can, while pointing your toes as far forward as possible. Then, when you sit up you can do arm and neck stretches. When you stand up, you can reach up as high as you can and then, while fully balanced, reach down and reach for your toes. You can also, turn your body from side to side, stretching out both arms to the side you are turning to and then repeat on the other side. Raise your arms high above your head and reach and lean gently the one side, holding for a few minutes, reach up high above your head again and reach to the other side. These exercises can also be done while sitting in a chair. There are many stretching exercises that can be done on the floor also. Stretching keeps the elasticity in your muscles strong which helps as we age, as our muscles are prone to shrinkage.
- Walking – Walking is a form of exercise that is easily incorporated into your daily life, unless walking is something that causes you pain. When walking, you are strengthening your bones and also getting in some aerobic activity. You can also adjust your speed to create a more dynamic workout if that is something you desire. The most important thing to remember when you are walking is to be on a level walkway, avoiding anything that might cause you to fall. It is recommended that you have proper walking shoes to prevent any ankle, knee and hip problems.
At Senior Care Centers, we believe a healthy lifestyle is an important aspect of maintaining a happy lifestyle. Call today for more information on how we provide these lifestyle options.