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Senior Fitness – Exercise For the Elderly

Senior Fitness – Exercise For the Elderly

  • May 18, 2022
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At least once a week on every local news station across the country there is a color article about an octogenarian who has just completed a marathon, or a 98-year-old man who has been skydiving, or a team of rugby players in their 60s and older fitness is not exclusive to youth.

Granted, aging takes a toll on joints and muscles, but the principles of improving the body’s strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular health apply to seniors as much as they do to youth. Intense wind sprints and hundreds of push-ups may not be the best route to senior fitness, but there are still many types of exercises for seniors to do. Here are some of the best…

To swim

Can’t sprint? To swim! Swimming combines the intensity of a full-body workout (especially the core) with a lower-stress, low-impact environment. One of the best exercise options for seniors suffering from arthritis. This exercise is particularly appealing to older women with chronic back pain or seniors with brittle bones.

tai chi

No, this is not a flavored herbal drink available at Starbucks (this is chai tea). It’s an ancient martial art that focuses on subtle movement, coordination and balance. As a martial art, it is much more art than combat. This is a wonderful exercise for the elderly as speed is not required. And regardless of age, many use tai chi as a form of stress relief as well as fitness

yoga

If you are good at tai chi, yoga would be a healthy next step. Yoga can be more vigorous than tai chi but still suitable for senior fitness. It strengthens and lengthens muscles and improves flexibility. In addition, there are many yoga positions and routines that are specifically designed to relieve back pain.

hiking/walking

The most original and perhaps the best exercise for humans was hiking. The human body has evolved to endure long, low-impact walks and thrive, and that applies perfectly to the elderly. Hiking outdoors promotes adaptability; it is the opposite of the treadmill. Even a slow hike can provide a good amount of cardiovascular exercise without reaching painfully intense levels for seniors.

rowing

This is not a traditional exercise for the elderly. No one thinks of a 60+ rowing team when they think of senior fitness. However, rowing offers a strenuous upper body workout without the pump and grind of the gym. Rowing works the quads, core, and even the leg muscles. It also adds the fresh element that is essential to living in old age. A workout on the calm banks of a local river can be very charming.

Backflip

OK, maybe not. In fact, definitely not an exercise for the elderly. Stick to the first five.

Ultimately have fun. Simple activities like dancing, golfing, gardening, or even just having a picnic can be a great way to keep the body active. Spending an hour a day in the gym isn’t a necessity as long as you get the blood pumping, a simple stroll to the corner grocery store can do the trick. That principles of fitness and senior fitness are the same; Find enjoyable, fulfilling activities, choose variety over boring routines, and don’t be afraid to involve others!

Thanks to Mark Sisson

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