Best Senior Fitness Routines and Programs
Get Ready, Get Fit: Go
Apart from helping with weight loss, maintaining strength and promoting an overall feeling of well-being, exercise programs for seniors reduce the impact of diseases such as osteoporosis and diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthy adults ages 65 and over build around 150 minutes of moderate activity into their week.
Timing Is Everything
Depending on whether you’re already active or just getting back into exercise, you could break the 150 minutes into blocks to fit your goals. Try twice-daily blocks of activity for just 10 to 15 minutes a time. Slowly build up to one block of 30 minutes a day, four or five days a week. Before starting a new senior fitness routine, check in with your doctor to make sure it’s appropriate for your abilities and existing health condition.
Pay Attention. Stay Safe.
You’ll get plenty of benefits without having to overdo it. Drink plenty of water before and after you work out, and sip a little during the activity to stay hydrated. Stop if you :
- Feel pain
- Experience tightness in chest or throat
- Have difficulty breathing
- Get dizzy
No Sweat? Yes, Sweat!
There are many senior fitness plans out there — so how do you choose the right one for you? What we are able to do and what we get out of exercise changes as we age. Whereas endurance or strength was once a single focus, for seniors there’s usually a shift to functional, whole-body fitness in order to preserve independence and quality of life. Senior fitness programs that emphasize strength, mobility and balance are especially effective. Here are five of our favorites:
Swimming is often found in senior fitness routines, and for good reason. It’s a whole body, low-impact sport that increases cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. There’s minimal stress on bones and joints, and since you’re supported by the water, you won’t hurt yourself if you lose your balance.
For seniors who can’t participate in high-impact activity like running, cycling increases leg strength and takes you outdoors. It’s also been shown to be good for heart and brain health. Prefer to cycle indoors with a stationary bike? You’ll get a great workout — and you won’t have to worry about the weather.
Pilates is a low-impact strength program that focuses on your core. The slow and controlled movements are usually performed on a special machine, and the exercises are intended to improve flexibility and balance. Take a beginner’s class to learn the correct techniques.
Exercises such as squats, overhead presses and situps are examples of functional movements you do every day: standing up from a chair, putting something on a shelf, getting out of bed. Practice these exercises using just your bodyweight to build strength and stamina. As your endurance improves, add weight with dumbbells, heavy cans or a water-filled gallon jug.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
A more intense option for a senior fitness plan, this form of exercise alternates periods of activity with rest. It’s extremely effective at burning calories and raising metabolism. In a typical 10-minute workout, you might do a different exercise every minute on the minute. For example, you would perform as many sit-ups as you could within 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, and then immediately move on to the next movement, say push-ups, performing as many as you could for 40 seconds, rest for 20, and so on.
How to Get Started
It’s easier than ever in this day and age. Mobile apps, YouTube channels, self-help books, podcasts: all offer a wealth of tips and information on exercise programs for seniors. But without a plan, objectives and support, it’s hard to stick with it. Let us help — we can create a fitness plan that combines smart goals with the proper motivation to keep you on track.
And physical fitness is only one part of aging gracefully. Proper nutrition, vibrant social connections, emotional resilience — all these play a part in lasting well-being. As a Life Plan Community, Regency Oaks offers a range of daily fitness and wellness programs for every dimension of your health. Speak to us at 727-330-2142 to learn how to get started.