Best Exercises for Seniors, People Over 60 Years Old
Are you over 60 years old, and not exercising regularly? If so, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, 33 percent of older males and 50 percent of older females do not participate in any form of physical activity. As a result, they can be more susceptible to physical illnesses, memory loss, depression, injuries and other problems. Great exercises for seniors differ from those designed for younger adults. Here are some of the best and safest exercises for people over 60, along with some considerations and warnings.
Cardiovascular Exercises for Seniors
There are several benefits of cardiovascular exercises for seniors, which include improving heart function and lung capacity. Furthermore, these exercises can promote a healthier immune system, increased energy and a better well-being. Some of the top cardio activities for people over age 60 include:
- Walking — If you’re not used to regular exercise, start out by walking, which is easy on your joints, besides being a good weight-bearing exercise. It’s also ideal for strengthening your bones and building muscle tone.
- Swimming and water aerobics — Working out in water is one of the best cardiovascular exercises for seniors. It’s also a good way to condition your muscles. Even if you’re not a good swimmer, you can walk or jog in water. Water exercises are especially recommended for seniors with joint problems.
- Biking — Biking is gentler on your joints than jogging or running, while still strengthening your muscles and bones. What’s more, it’s beneficial for your lungs and heart. If you have balance problems, besides worried about falling off a bike, or your area is prone to inclement weather, ride a stationary bike as it’s exceptionally safe, and you can use it any day of the year.
- Yoga — Although yoga is mainly for toning muscles and stretching, some yoga styles offer cardiovascular benefits because they can raise your heart rate.
- Dancing — Depending on how fast you dance and your dance style, this exercise can provide low to moderate activity. Another perk is that dancing is fun and can enlarge your social life, which is so important for older people and especially those who live alone.
Weight Training Exercises for Seniors
Strength training should be included in an exercise program for all ages, but it’s even more important if you’re over 60. For seniors, strength training can mean more functional independence. To get the most out of your weight training routine, following these guidelines:
- Do weight training twice a week with sessions lasting from 20 to 45 minutes.
- Do two sets per session (involving eight to 10 repetitions).
- Focus on functional movements, rather than muscle specialization and free weights.
- Work all the muscles groups, which include the back, legs, arms, shoulders, abdomen and chest.
- Resistance bands are cost effective and easy for all fitness levels (a great way to get started).
Balancing Exercises for Seniors
Balancing exercises are particularly crucial for seniors. Consider how you need to have good balance to perform daily activity, such as climbing stairs, and to avoid falling or tripping over obstacles. One the best things about doing these exercises is that they can done virtually, anywhere, anytime and as frequently as you prefer. Some of the most effective balancing exercises include:
- Tai Chi
- Balance walking
- Heel-to-toe walking
- Standing on one foot
Exercises Older People Should Avoid
- If you’re over 60, and especially if you’re overweight, running can lead to severe damage to your body when you haven’t been running during your younger years. Therefore, unless your body is already conditioned to running — meaning you’ve been running for several years — it’s best to avoid this exercise.
- Don’t do exercises that are too difficult. If there is significant risk, or a high probability you could cause more harm than good to your body, avoid it. Some of these “hard-to-do” exercises include the chest press, the upright row, the overhead press and the deadlift.
- Instead of doing the chest press, do squats because they can give you the same benefits. Squats can also help you when getting in and out a chair.
Other Considerations and Warnings
- Using machine aids can help to maintain proper body form.
- Before exercising, always do some stretching to warm up as well as to improve flexibility and reduce the threat of muscle strain. Just don’t stretch or bounce too far because this can aggravate your muscles. Some of the best stretches include triceps stretches, toe touch, seated floor twist, the spinal stretch and the standing biceps stretch.
- When doing balancing exercises, use a nearby person or a sturdy chair for holding onto if you don’t feel steady enough. Then, when you feel steadier, use only a single hand to grip your chair. Eventually, you may be able to use just one finger or no hands at all.
- Before beginning any type of exercise program, consult with your doctor about prior medical problems or injuries. Next, devise a balanced workout program that fits your abilities and meets your goals. Don’t just restrict yourself to one type of exercise, but combine cardio training, weight training and balance activities.
- Choose low impact exercises, besides high quality fitness equipment to reduce the likelihood of injuries. These include orthopedic treadmill belts, elliptical trainers, adjustable shock absorption deck and others.
When buying fitness equipment, remember that quality matters. You can depend on the highest quality gym equipment from the health and wellness professional at Fitness Gallery. Since 1997, Fitness Gallery has remained dedicated to the art of good health. Please contact us to learn more about our huge selection of cardio machines, strength products, and accessories for seniors.