Are you looking forward to spring and getting to spend more time out of doors and enjoying an active lifestyle? Staying fit and healthy is an important part of aging, and seniors who exercise regularly and combine their workout routine with a sensible nutrition plan stay stronger and experience less pain overall than seniors who are more sedentary. Spring is the perfect occasion to start engaging in activities that get you moving.
Go low impact if you’re worried about shocking your body with a new routine
While some seniors may have always enjoyed a lifestyle that includes a demanding physical workout or sports activity (such as running, cycling, weightlifting, tennis, or golfing), a newly adopted rigorous and demanding exercise routine can be harder for those who haven’t always been heavily active, and can actually cause damage to aging joints. However, there are plenty of low-impact exercises you can enjoy even if you struggle with arthritis or mobility issues.
Exercises that are easy on the joints can still offer a beneficial workout. You’ll be gently increasing your heart rate, burning off calories, building muscle and endurance, and increasing your flexibility, balance, and coordination. All of this can help reduce risk of falls or other injuries.
Choose a simple exercise to start
Sometimes the most basic exercises are the best ones for establishing a routine and easing your body into new daily activity. Try:
- Walking or hiking
- Swimming or water aerobics
- Biking or spin cycling
- Yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates
- Light strength training
You can mix and match workouts to engage various muscle groups and work out different joints. Always let your doctor know when you are making lifestyle changes, and think about getting instruction one-on-one or joining a group class to ensure you are executing moves correctly. You can also work out with a buddy system to help increase safety and boost motivation.
Consider HIIT to slow aging and improve your stamina and strength
High-intensity interval training – or HIIT – is a fast-paced routine that alternates between a short burst of high speed aerobic exercise followed by a brief lower-intensity period. This pattern is repeated in bursts – several minutes of high speed followed by several minutes of low speed exercise, for a total workout time of just 20 minutes or so. Cycling is a great way to do HIIT without causing joint damage.
The benefits of HIIT can include improved cardiovascular and respiratory health, reduced fat, and better control over blood glucose levels, according to a recent study reported by the AARP. Interval training is also thought to be capable of reversing signs of aging within cells; the study reported that the group of participants over the age of 65 had a dramatic 69 percent increase in their cells’ ability to take in oxygen and produce energy.
This spring, talk with your doctor about ways to help you be more active and improve your joint health with safe exercise that naturally boosts your body’s functions. Dr. Strasburger can help you create an exercise plan that will help prevent injury and encourage you to take advantage of spring weather to get out and work out.