Staying active at every age can keep you feeling and looking your best. However, the ways that you stay active needs to be appropriate for every stage of your life. An active lifestyle is particularly important for the health of adults over 50 because regular exercise can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer, furthermore an active lifestyle can help to reduce pain associated with arthritis. An active lifestyle aimed at improving balance, flexibility, endurance, and strength, can help older adults to stay healthier longer. It is important that you always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
Here is what you can (and should) do:
- Aerobic activity. These types of exercises serves to help older adults burn calories, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, maintain joint movement, benefit heart health, and increase overall energy levels. It may take some time for you to build endurance. If you are not used to exercising, just begin with 5-minute cardio sessions a couple days a week to raise your heart rate. From there, work up your time, eventually completing 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least five days a week. This means that you need to do moderate endurance exercise, this moderate exercise includes brisk walks, tennis, and swimming. Some more intense aerobic activities that you can do are include hiking and running
- Build up your muscle strength. This process takes time, however the benefits are significant for your health as a senior. Strength training requires proper physical form to gain full benefits of these exercises. Begin with some straightforward, low-impact exercises: For lower body strength try squatting in front of a sturdy chair, just keep your arms in front of you and do not extend your knees past your toes as you bend into an almost-sitting position. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly raise yourself back to a standing position at a controlled pace.Take a pause, then repeat for two sets of 10 reps. If the exercise is too challenging try holding onto the sides of the chair or place a few pillows on the chair.
Use light weights or elastic bands as resistance training. This helps you to develop muscle mass and upper body strength. Sit or stand if sitting isn’t possible with your feet flat on the floor and hold light weights at shoulder height with your palms facing forward. Next lift the weights above your head, each motion should be slow and controlled.
Other awesome exercises for upper body strength includes side arm raises in which you hold weights at your sides, palms inward, and then raise your arms out to the sides; front arm raises in which you hold the weights at your sides, palms down, and raise your arms to shoulder height. Aim for two sets of 10 reps for each of these exercises.
- Do leg raises to help strengthen your thighs, hip, buttocks, and lower back muscles.Leg raises also benefits balance. For side leg raises, begin by standing behind a chair and holding on to the chair for better balance. Lift one leg out to the side, while keeping your leg completely aligned from heel to hip. Make sure that you maintain a straight back and a slight bend of the knee in the supporting leg, then begin to slowly lower the leg. For back leg raises, begin by using the chair for balance and slowly lift one leg behind you (do not lean forward), hold the position for a moment, and lower your leg. Do not bend the lifted leg and do not point the toes,
- Try low-impact exercises. These allow for less strain on your body while providing a means of staying physically active and it. Low-impact exercises also help older adults to ease into a new workout program. Exercising in the water, whether swimming, water running, or doing water aerobics is an excellent option. Also trying gentle forms of yoga, Pilates, tai chi, chi gong, stretching, and light weight training are good options for low impact exercises.