Exercising and staying active are key parts of a healthy lifestyle for seniors. But, aging does make certain types of sports and physical activities a challenge. So, what are the best exercises for seniors to keep active, engaged, and healthy? In this article, we’ll talk about some of the most popular and beneficial types of exercises for seniors and why we’d recommend trying them.
Walking is the perfect exercise for seniors, even for those who have been inactive for years or decades. It’s free, it requires no special equipment, and you can do it anywhere, any time. When the weather is good, walking through nature in parks or on the beach is proven to be great exercise and beneficial to the mind and spirit. If the weather is bad, a quick trip to the local mall will make for a fun walk in a vibrant, engaging environment. You can walk briskly for fitness or walk leisurely while chatting with friends. Either way, it builds muscle and bone strength, balance, joint flexibility, cardiovascular health, and so much more.
Swimming is a fun, easy, and very low-impact to exercise. Whether it’s a structured water aerobics class or just splashing around with friends, swimming is excellent for joint health and flexibility, muscle strength, cardiovascular health, and more. It’s especially great for seniors because floating in water virtually eliminates stresses and strains on the body’s joints, so it reduces pain and helps seniors stay active. This is one exercise many seniors can enjoy multiple times per week or even every day.
Stretching, Balance, & Posture Exercises
One of the biggest concerns, as we age, is stiff muscles and joints, reduced flexibility, posture, and balance problems. Activities like yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong can be specifically geared toward helping seniors get healthy stretching while improving posture, balance, and flexibility. Even something as simple as stationary stretches and body-weight exercises like leg raises, wall pushups, and others can be an excellent way for seniors to stay strong, limber, and stable. These types of exercises will also help reduce the risks of tripping and falling, in addition to making recovery faster and easier in the event of a fall.
Strength training can be an outstanding exercise for seniors, but it’s often overlooked or feared to be dangerous. Lifting smaller hand weights using the correct techniques and postures is the perfect way to improve muscle strength, bone mass, joint health, and even things like walking speed and hand strength. All this means it will be easier to lift heavy objects, get in and out of a car, open a jar, and so many other normal day-to-day activities that get tougher as we age.
Golf is a low-impact game that many seniors enjoy every day. It encourages balance, flexibility, hand-eye coordination, and core strength. It also encourages miles and miles of walking, especially if you skip the cart. It can be a stress-reducing, mind-clearing act of concentration, or it can involve some fun, friendly competition with friends. However you like to play, golf is a form of outdoor exercise you can enjoy far into your senior years.
Our list of best exercises for seniors is certainly not exhaustive. There are plenty of seniors who enjoy jogging, cycling, tennis, dancing, archery, shuffleboard, and many, many other physical activities. Simply put, if it gets your blood flowing and you enjoy it, get out there and exercise!