Fitness 101 for Seniors

Good morning and Happy Monday! Another week is here! If you are doing Tina’s Bootcamp (starts next Monday and there still time to sign up), I have created a special health coaching package just for participants. Click HERE to find out more.

We all have some seniors in our life: parents, relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers. And one day WE will be seniors. Today’s guest post talks about fitness for seniors.

Fitness 101 for Seniors

Exercise is more important as we age to prevent falls, maintain muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance. It is something that tends to be abandoned when it can benefit you the most. Even when bound to a wheelchair or if you require a rollator to get around, you can achieve a certain level of fitness. Just figure your starting point and move on as you get stronger.

Things to think about

  • Talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. It isn’t that your doctor should dictate how you exercise or how often you work out, but based upon your health conditions and medications, a physician can tell you what signs of injuries might be and a maximum heart rate or target heart rate.
  • Make a routine out of exercising. If you stick to it for a month or two, you will make it a habit and it will be natural to do your routine and your body will miss the stimulation when you skip. In a short amount of time, you will recognize that you feel much better.
  • Set realistic goals. Begin with simple goals like “being able to lift five-pound weights over soup cans” before you set the goal at “I want to lose 40 pounds.” If you don’t see the weight coming off right away, you will get frustrated and quit because you are not seeing the result you want. Eventually, that larger goal will come. But getting started is the important thing and simplicity is essential to avoid frustration.
  • Be able to recognize your limits. Your body will send you signals that you are overdoing it. Listen. Do not push through it thinking you are gaining strength. It could be a warning that you are being too aggressive for your health. Go in slow motion; don’t skip ahead to where you think you should be.

Things to do

  • Gaining flexibility will keep you limber and increase your strength to continue performing everyday activities without pain or discomfort. Yoga, Pilates, or even simple things like tying your shoes, neck rolls, and yard work such as weeding and walking around the block will make you less stiff and more flexible.
  • Cardio strengthens your heart and lung functions. Anything that raises your heart rate is going to begin to increase your endurance. But 15-20 minutes a day of walking will decrease shortness of breath and make you more limber. It will also help your muscles gain strength. Using a treadmill at home is another great way to exercise and you can watch a favorite show or a movie while you do it!
  • Balance is vital as we get older. Falling down is one of the most common ways to get hurt. Proper nutrition and doing Yoga or Tai Chi is a great way to prevent injuries from falling. You will gain strength in your muscles that you need to keep you upright. Yoga is a spectacular activity for anyone from beginners to experts and is very relaxing. As you build up your strength, be sure to have someone help you or have something to grab onto in case you lose your balance. Once you have those muscles gaining some stamina and strength, you will notice that you don’t need the help anymore.
  • Strength comes all the more as you focus on other methods of exercise. Keeping those muscles strong helps to prevent bone loss, improves balance, and will help you maintain upper and lower body strength. Even if you are using a wheelchair, strength is important. Don’t feel like it doesn’t matter for you because it does. Lifting hand weights or free weights…even soup cans…will create some resistance and force those muscles to work harder. Resistance bands, strips of elastic materials, can be a good alternative to weights and can be lower impact with results that still are noticeable. Like weights, bands come in various resistances so you can graduate to a stiffer band when you are ready. These can be shut in a door to keep them secure. Never tie to a doorknob. If it slips off, it will hurt! You can move the band to various heights to work out your arms and legs both.

Holding to Inspiration

  • To stay motivated, log your workouts on a calendar so that you can see how good you are doing, or the other way around. Don’t get flustered, adjust and start working again.
  • Have a friend or family member exercise with you. Push each other to keep up. Most people stay on a routine better when they are not self-propelled. Having a buddy will keep you invested in the project.
  • Avoid injury by keeping it safe and knowing your limits. Exercise should be enjoyable and should not create the kind of pain that is on the upper half of the pain scale. It will increase endorphin production and make you feel better about yourself and what you do. Don’t over-do it.

Whether you work out at home or at a gym in your neighborhood or care center, it is very important to do so. Don’t allow your age or current health condition to limit how you could feel with just a little bit of exercise.

Author Bio: Cheryl Swanson is a passionate caregiver and a devoted mother and wife. She currently writes for Just Walkers, a leading supplier in rollators.

Disclaimer: AFTER I published this article I became aware that this article was on another site due to some miscommunication. I have made this a “noindex” page, but choose to leave it up because the content is excellent.

What exercise(s) do you plan to be doing when you are a senior? Any big plans for the week?

Enjoy your day!


3 Responses to “Fitness 101 for Seniors”

  1. MHA (Missy)

    Hi, G!

    I love this post- I reeeeally wish I could get my parents moving!! They live a couple of hours away, though, so it’s tough to get them out from a distance.

    I’m hoping to continue to be active till I keel over. I am your age, and can absolutely tell that activity keeps me feeling better, more flexible. If I take 2 or 3 days for couch-azzing I pay for it!

    We have a trip to the zoo planned this week. I’m excited about it, and the kids can’t wait!
    Also gonna get to the gym a couple of times- trying a morning core class tomorrow! (You’ll be proud) I even have a friend meeting me there. 🙂

    I’ll be emailing soon- have a great day!!