There is a common misconception that seniors shouldn’t exercise. Fear that aged bones are too frail, and joints are too susceptible to injury, gives cause to many seniors to quit exercising and adopt a sedentary lifestyle into old age. ‘Exercise is dangerous for seniors’ is constantly warned to elderly individuals wishing to look after their health.
But these ideas are far from the truth. In fact, moderate exercise can be extremely beneficial for seniors. As consistent exercise was good for us in youth, the same physical maintenance needs to be carried into old age. Daily exercise can have an immense range of benefits, including:
- Maintaining and improving balance
- Better immune system
- Improved cognitive function and focus
- Higher energy levels
- Maintenance of strong bones and muscles
- Injury prevention
- Improved mood and decreased stress
Exercise can be particularly beneficial to seniors suffering from arthritis, by improving joint mobility. Activities that support joints and are low impact are best suited.
Diabetes is prevalent in many seniors, and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is extremely important in the maintenance of a healthy body weight.
For anyone starting an exercise routine for the first time, or starting a new program after a change to health condition, it is recommended to consult a physician beforehand. If you are unsure what type of exercise is safe, a personal trainer or exercise therapist who specializes in senior activity can help.
Whether you or your elderly loved one are concerned with a current diagnosis, or want to be proactive about your health as you age, a regular exercise regime will be extremely beneficial in all aspects of life. If a current health issue exists, consult a professional to develop an exercise plan.
Some low impact activities that are popular choices for seniors include:
- Swimming or aqua fit classes
- Yoga and Pilates
- Walking or cycling
- Moderate weight lifting
- Senior aerobic classes