Who cares what defines a “Senior” because if you don’t stop moving, you don’t have to feel like one.
Staying active as you get older cannot only extend your life, but it can also improve your quality of life, and isn’t the quality factor what we are all most interested in? According to the National Institute on Aging, exercise can help you:
- Have more energy to do the things you want to do.
- Keep and improve your strength so you can stay independent.
- Prevent or delay some diseases like heart disease, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, and osteoporosis.
- Perk up your mood and reduce depression.
- Manage stress.
- Improve cognitive function
With all these benefits, what are you waiting for? People of all ages and physical conditions can benefit from exercise. Even those who already have disabilities and diseases can improve their health with physical activity.
Exercise smart by exercising safe
Of course, I love golf and suggest that you give the game a try if you don’t already play. Golf makes for a great social exercise, keeps the mind engaged, and involves extensive balance and stretching activities. Walk as much as you can while playing as it is possible to easily pull your golf clubs behind you on a three-wheeled cart.
Before getting started on any exercise program, be sure to consult your healthcare provider. Also, keep these safety tips in mind:
- If you haven’t been active in a while, start slowly and build up.
- Choose activities that are appropriate for your fitness level.
- Use proper safety gear and sports equipment.
- Warm up before beginning your activity.
- Drink plenty of water while exercising.
Five types of exercise
For the most benefit, incorporate exercises from these four main categories into your fitness lineup: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. You will find examples of each below.
Endurance – aerobic exercise that gets the heart, lungs and circulatory system working optimally. Work up to at least 30 minutes of endurance exercise each day. Examples include:
- Brisk walking
- Climbing stairs or hills
- Playing tennis or basketball
Strength – this helps build muscle, which can help reduce frailty. Strength exercises are sometimes referred to as “strength training” or “resistance training.” Try to do strength exercises two days a week; don’t work the same muscle groups two days in a row.
- Face a wall a little farther than arm’s length away, feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lean your body forward, putting your palms flat against the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.
- Inhale as you bend your elbows and lower your body toward the wall.
- Hold for 1 second; exhale and push yourself back to the starting position.
- Repeat 10-15 times; rest; repeat 10-15 more times.
Side leg raise
- Stand behind a sturdy chair, feet slightly apart, holding on for balance.
- Exhale and slowly lift one leg out to the side. Keep your back straight and your toes facing forward. Keep standing leg slightly bent.
- Hold for 1 minute; exhale as you slowly lower leg.
- Repeat 10-15 times with same leg; switch to other leg for 10-15 repetitions.
- Repeat 10-15 more times with each leg.
Balance exercises – these can help reduce your risk of falls. You can do these exercises every day if necessary.
- Place the heel of one foot in front of the toes of the other foot. Your heel and toes should touch or almost touch.
- Focus on a spot ahead of you while you walk.
- Take a step; put your heel in front of the toes of your other foot.
- Repeat for 20 steps.
Flexibility – keeps the body limber and may help reduce your risk of injury. Stretch after endurance or strength exercises. If you’re only doing stretching exercises, warm up first.
Shoulder and upper arm
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Hold one end of a towel in your right hand. Raise and bend your right arm to drape the towel down your back.
- Reach behind your lower back with your left hand and grasp the towel.
- Pull the towel down with your left hand. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort in your right shoulder.
- Repeat at least 3-5 times.
- Reverse positions and repeat at least 3-5 times