Fitness for Older Adults © Courtesy of Delmanor
No matter your age, exercise is vital to your well-being, especially for older adults. Physical activity reduces the risk of a number of health conditions. It keeps you strong, flexible and stable and is an important element of independence and longevity.
“Physical activity creates new pathways in the brain and strengthens old pathways, it also increases oxygen flow to the brain,” says Delmanor LivingWell Coach Kelly. If you have just started implementing fitness into your life, it is important to start slow. “Look for exercises that are geared to beginners and work your way up, or it’s a great idea to hire a personal trainer to help you get started. Ultimately, a great start is to exercise 150 minutes per week, this can be broken down into segments to suit your comfort level: For example, two 10-minute walks per day”
The key to success is to add variety to your workouts. Here are examples of exercise strategies well-suited to older adults to help you LiveWell:
Walking with Nordic walking poles
“Nordic poles are great tools for stability,” explains Kelly, LivingWell coach at Delmanor. “As we age, we may shorten our gait and stop swinging our arms. Poles keep the arms engaged and help to get our body parts moving.”
Join a class
“Fitness classes for older adults are designed for general fitness, it also challenges our balance, reaction times and coordination,” says Coach Kelly. “It’s great for social engagement,” adds Kelly. “Exercise classes help with muscle strengthening, improves bone and joint health and provides opportunities for cognitive stimulation
One way to have fun while you get fit is to have an exercise buddy. Go for regular walks with a friend, outside when the weather’s nice or inside at a mall or track when it’s cold or rainy, advises Kelly. “One great idea is to add stand ups—every time you pass a bench, practice sitting and standing a few times to help strengthen your legs and core.”
Get in the water
“It’s easier to exercise in water as joints become buoyant,” explains Kelly. “It also provides resistance for strength.” If you aren’t a great swimmer, walk in shallow water, use a pool noodle for support or join an aquafit class. Therapeutic pools, which are warmer and shallow, are especially beneficial for those with conditions such as fibromyalgia, or arthritis or who are recovering from a stroke.
Yoga and tai chi
“These activities bring in the mind-body connection as well as providing balance, strength and flexibility benefits,” says Kelly. Classes designed for older adults are always advisable since considerations are made for conditions such as lowered bone density and arthritic joints.
A great form of exercise that encourages movement and helps balance. Dancing is an excellent social activity, says Coach Kelly “It’s a good way to enjoy music and spend time with friends.”
Great for social interaction and teamwork, it also helps maintain better posture and balance, says Kelly. “It’s done in an upright position, so it reduces the risk of problems like compression fractures of the spine by encouraging good alignment.” A shuffleboard court can also be set up inside so it can be enjoyed all year round.
To learn more about Delmanor Communities and The LivingWell Coaching visit delmanor.com
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