Maintaining strength, muscles and cardiovascular health is vital for seniors of all ages. Those of us who remain active and healthy, exercising regularly are more likely to enjoy greater independence. Plus, enjoy the other benefits including more energy, endorphins and sleep.
Here are 5 exercises that you might want to try…
- Water aerobics – call your local pool to see if they hold any sessions or try your local council’s website. Lake Macquarie City Council have Aqua Fitness available at Charlestown and West Wallsend for details visit https://www.lakemac.com.au/Events-directory/Council-events/AquaFit
- Chair yoga – take a look at www.yogaforseniors.com.au and give this a go in the comfort of your own home!
- Resistance band workouts – discover if your local gym such as a Curves holds these classes or take a look for senior specific classes on sites such a YouTube.
- Pilates – try your local gym or check out some online classes such as www.superaging.com.au
- Walking – there is an abundance of walking tracks in the Newcastle region. Why not meet up with a friend, a thermos and some snacks and make a day of it. Try some of these walking trails … Newcastle Walking Tracks
If you’re crafting your own program, you may wish to build it on the four cornerstones of fitness outlined below.
Cardiovascular Conditioning/Activities – for your heart, lungs and blood vessels. Aerobic, activities increase your breathing and heart rate.
The heart, like other muscles, becomes deconditioned when a sedentary lifestyle reduces the demands we make on it. As a result, its contractions become weaker and it pumps less blood with each beat. But some cardiovascular loss can be reversed through regular exercise. Walking, cycling, swimming, and other aerobic exercises boost energy and endurance by increasing cardiovascular capacity. They also reduce the risk of developing conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and depression. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of daily moderate cardiovascular exercise, even in 10-minute increments, can increase fitness and substantially reduce disease risk. Walking is one of the best aerobic exercises because it also helps maintain bones. You might want to start with 10-minute sessions, walking at the fastest pace that allows you to sustain a conversation. The only equipment you’ll need is a pair of comfortable shoes with resilient soles. Select a safe, well-lighted spot with a level surface. Dress in loose-fitting clothes that you can shed in layers as you warm up.
Strength Training – to help maintain bone strength. Strength exercises make your muscles stronger.
Maintaining your strength is one of the most important ways to ensure that you will retain your independence. Whether your goal is to lift your grandchild or to open the vegemite jar, strength training (also called resistance exercise) will help you to reach it. You can buy ankle and hand weights from a sporting goods store. To build muscle, the exercises must be challenging, but they shouldn’t be stressful. The idea is to lift a weight you can comfortably manage for eight repetitions and try to keep going until you reach 15 repetitions. Take three seconds to lift the weight; hold it for one second; then take another three seconds to lower it. Breathe in as you lift the weight and out as you lower it. Rest, then do a second set of repetitions. If you can easily lift the weight more than 15 times, try adding another pound. Take a day off between sessions for each muscle group, or exercise your upper body one day and your lower body the next.
Flexibility Activities – to help you move more easily. Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and can help your body stay more limber.
Loss of flexibility can be a mere annoyance or a real impediment, affecting your ability to back into a parking place or even to trim your toenails. Because you should do stretching exercises only when your muscles are warm, you might want to add 15 minutes of stretches at the end of your aerobic or weightlifting sessions. Stretching shouldn’t hurt; at most, you should feel a slight tugging or pulling. Repeat each stretch three to five times. As you gain flexibility, you’ll find yourself stretching farther each session.
Balancing Activities – to improve your balance and help prevent falls.
Falls are one of the leading causes of injury and death for older Australians. By doing certain exercises you can improve your balance and your strength, so you can stand tall and feel more confident when walking. Discover balance exercises especially for over 60’s at Stay On Your Feet
All that is left now, is to get out your sneakers and get at it!
NB – Remember, before you undertake any exercise program, begin with a check-up by your doctor. If you have a condition such as congestive heart failure, lung disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, or a joint replacement, you’ll need guidance on developing a safe exercise routine. This information is provided as a general guide to exercise activities. You should discuss any exercise program with your primary care provider.