Physical activity is one of the top contributors to longevity and overall health as you age. Even if you’ve never been a fan of working out, it’s never too late to start being more mobile. Being active can help you boost energy levels, help your mind and mood, and give you chances for social interaction.
Manage your weight
Your metabolism is going to naturally slow with age. This can make staying at a healthy weight a challenge, Every pound you put on your body can be like adding three pounds to what your knees have to carry. Exercise can build muscle mass and strength as well as increasing your metabolism to burn more calories.
Enhance your mobility
Regular exercise improves your strength, flexibility, balance and coordination, and posture. You can reduce your risk of a fall and injury, and help improve symptoms of discomfort and stiffness that come with age-related diseases like arthritis.
Improve your overall wellness
You can reduce the impact that chronic conditions have on your life with exercise, improving your digestive and immune system functions as well as supporting better blood pressure and higher bone density. Taking care of your body helps reduce the risk of many diseases.
Reap additional health benefits
Exercise can also help improve how well you sleep, so you can fall asleep rapidly, sleep deeply, and wake up feeling rated and energized. It can also reduce stress, boost your mood and self-confidence, and enhance your brain function.
A regular exercise routine can be difficult to start and maintain at any age, and as a senior, you could be facing extra challenges like preexisting health conditions, aches, and discomfort, or concerns about falls or other injuries. Instead of thinking about it as “working out” or “exercising”, think of it simply as ensuring you have motion in your life.
Try the following activities:
- Walking – this can be indoors or outdoors; you can go around the block or find a shopping mall and possibly meet with a group to get your steps in every day.
- Swimming – water aerobics can be low impact for your joints and great if you want to get moving with low discomfort levels or combat stiffness (look for a heated pool!)
- Lifting – weights aren’t just a young person’s game, so ask at your local gym or YMCA if they have a weight lifting class for seniors.
- Balancing – Yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi can all help you improve balance and flexibility with low impact routines that can be adapted for those with impared mobility.
You should have a checkup and get medical clearance from a doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have one or more preexisting conditions. Listen to your body and don’t go overboard in the first weeks. You’re more likely to injure yourself and have to stop exercising.
If you have questions about starting a new exercise regimen, contact our office and book a consultation with Dr. Scott Strasburger.