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Best Exercises for Senior Citizens

If you are an older adult looking to establish an exercise routine, you should be able to fit in 2 hours of endurance activity a week. Regular exercise is important for all stages of life, but as we age, it becomes even more important for our overall well-being. Regular exercise can improve almost all aspects of your health which include; blood pressure, body weight, cholesterol levels, overall mood, and sleep patterns. It strengthens your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and your bones to help reduce injury and reduce your risk of falls. As always, any time you're starting a new exercise program, increasing your activity or if you have a chronic health condition, you should talk with your doctor about what's best for you. Some exercises or stretches may need to be modified to best fit your individual needs and goals.

There are several types of exercise to choose from and enjoying a nice mix of them all will result in the greatest results.

Do your muscles feel tight? The stretching and improved flexibility will help you feel less stiff and more comfortable with everyday tasks; walking, bending, and reaching. You'll naturally improve your posture, circulation, and balance. Achieving resilience takes time. Listen to your body and start slowly.

Let's start by discussing the two types of stretching: dynamic and static. Dynamic stretching, better known as active stretching, is less "stretching" than you might think of it. You do these types of movements and motions to warm up before exercise. This will include movements similar to those that would be included in your workout to ensure that the muscles are warm and the joints are lubricated.

Dynamic stretching includes stretches such as these:

Static stretching is what will increase flexibility. Do this as you stand, sit or lie down and stay in one position for about 45 seconds. These are stretches that you hold for a period of time. Static stretching should not cause injury With static stretching, you will focus on one muscle or area at a time eg; Neck, calves, hamstrings, back, arms and shoulders.

Balance:- Along with stretching and flexibility, improving balance can help prevent falls and other injuries. As well as aging, difficulty seeing, inner ear problems, and weakened joints and muscles can cause a lack of balance even with a slightly uneven surface. Activities such as yoga, tai chi, and Pilates will help improve balance and flexibility. As an added bonus, many of these exercise activities are also good for our physical health.

Aerobic Endurance:- This type of exercise doesn't need to be strenuous, but it should get your heart rate up. There's no need to sign up for the next Hometown Marathon! For most seniors, starting with low-impact activities is a good place to start. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. (Or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.) Look for senior classes in your area, or enjoy a walk in a local park.

Strength Training:- Everyday tasks require strength. Carrying groceries, climbing stairs, and doing household chores requires adequate muscle strength. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults 65 and older should include strength training in their workouts at least twice a week. Start slow with light weights, such as 1-2 pounds, and aim for 10-15 repetitions of a compound exercise. You can also use your own body weight for resistance with exercises like chair squats, wall pushups, or even stair climbing. Resistance bands are a very cost-effective way to add strength training to your workout and improve heart health, bone health, independence, and overall quality of life. Classes offered by your insurance, such as Silver Sneakers, or at your local gym can help you learn the proper way to use strength training equipment.

Improving your health can start with 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Remember to talk to your doctor about the best path to fitness for your needs and start slowly. Try to incorporate all types of exercise into your weekly routine to see the most benefits. The US Department of Health and Human Services reports that less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day and only 1 in 3 reaches the recommended amount of physical activity each week. But it's still not too late! A study in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise reported that lifting weights for less than an hour each week significantly reduced the risk of heart attack and stroke.

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