If you’re a senior struggling to begin a workout routine, definitely read on! You are not alone. Aging is a natural part of life but can come with several frustrations, including decreased strength, joint pain, reduced mobility, and greater risk for injury.
However, with the proper exercise equipment and workout plan, you can increase your strength and reduce the risk of falls and injury. In addition, you may find yourself in a better place mentally and emotionally as well.
How Does Physical Fitness Benefit Me as a Senior?
Physical exercise is beneficial for people of all ages. Don’t assume that you can no longer work out because you have reached a senior level. Remember that working out can mean different things depending on your physical abilities.
For some, exercise might mean lifting weights and going for jogs. For others, exercise might mean a walk with a friend or doing a water pilates class. Regardless of what you engage in, getting up and moving your body is likely to leave you feeling healthier, happier, and more content overall. When considering the benefits it has for you as a senior, there are five main points to consider:
Increased Overall Health
When it comes to working out, the body responds positively in several ways, such as maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels and supporting immune health and function. Your body will be able to respond better to sickness and injury if these things are balanced correctly.
Mental Health and Sleep
Exercise has been shown to benefit mental health for people of all age groups; however, this is especially important for seniors. They tend to experience life changes that affect them physically, mentally, and emotionally.
For example, as a senior, you might experience chronic illness, the death of a close friend or a spouse, or other life changes. Any of these things could lead to a decrease in mental well-being.
Physical exercise is shown to support the release of endorphins in the brain, which are referred to as the “feel good” hormones. These will reduce feelings of stress and tension as well as calm the mind and relax the mood.
In addition to this, physical exercise is beneficial for those who struggle with healthy sleep patterns. Exercise is linked with easing discomfort, relaxing your mind and body, and tackling sleep barriers such as tension and stress.
Many older adults suffer injuries from accidental falls. This could be due to decreased flexibility and balance, reduced coordination, or weaker bones.
This could be problematic, as it further reduces their ability for movement and independence and produces feelings of mental distress. Exercise can improve flexibility and strength, which in turn plays a role in increasing balance and safety.
Chance for Social Interaction
Many seniors struggle with feelings of isolation due to friends passing away, family moving, or the reduced ability to participate in activities they previously engaged in.
Therefore, being a part of an exercise routine with other individuals is not only beneficial for your mental and physical health but will also support your social health!
As you continue to age, do you fear losing your cognitive abilities? Forgetfulness is a common problem for seniors and can be frustrating when it interferes with daily functioning. Exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on brain health. Who doesn’t want a sharper mind?!
Four Important Types of Exercise for Seniors
When it comes to exercising, there are four areas of fitness that could benefit you as a senior:
When engaging in endurance exercises, this could include several activities that increase your heart rate and breathing. In turn, it causes a higher level of oxygen in the body. Endurance exercise benefits your lungs, heart, and circulation. Your options are endless when it comes to endurance workouts, as some of the following examples show:
- Climbing stairs
- Doing yard work
- Engaging in sports: tennis, basketball, etc.
Strength is important because it builds muscle and reduces the risk of injury. These exercises can involve several moves using bands, dumbbells, or your body weight.
- Resistance bands: These are a great alternative if you prefer not to use weights. They provide added resistance to your workout and reduce the risk of injury that often accompanies weight lifting, such as dropping the weight on yourself, pushing yourself too hard, etc.
- Dumbbells: Remember to pick a weight that works for your fitness level. Don’t push yourself too hard when it comes to lifting weights. Even one to five-pound dumbbells will greatly benefit you.
- Body-weight exercises: This is a great option if you don’t have dumbbells or resistance bands. Even using your body weight can be challenging, so make sure to start slow and increase as you feel physically capable.
As discussed above, balance is important because it can reduce the risk of falls. This can be accomplished through a number of exercises, including the following:
- Standing on one foot: This can be challenging at first, so use a chair or wall for support when starting out. As you increase your balance, take away the chair and try standing on your own, but not before you feel physically ready!
Walking heel-to-toe: Another helpful move when it comes to increasing your balance. This is accomplished by stepping forward with your left foot, followed by touching the heel of the right foot directly in front of the toes of the left foot.
The left foot is then put forth, and the heel is placed directly in front of the toes of the right foot. This process is continued for several steps and has huge benefits on your balancing abilities. This can also be challenging, so remember to have a wall or chair nearby to grab onto if needed.
- Yoga: This can be a great way to increase your balance and be a social activity!
Just as with balance and strength, flexibility increases safety and reduces the risk of falls. This can be done through two main activities:
- Stretching: This is important before and after working out, whether your workout entails a walk, a strength training routine, or a rowing exercise.
- Yoga: Yoga is beneficial for several reasons, including strength, flexibility, and balance.
Tips for Working Out as a Senior
If you’re a senior looking to begin a workout routine, there are several things to be aware of. Pay attention to this list in understanding the best ways to stay safe while increasing your strength and exercise abilities.
Be Aware of Your Own Limitations
Physical exercise is critical; however, it’s not more important than your safety. Be aware of your limitations and needs. For example, avoid exercises that include running or jumping if you experience pain in your knees.
Consult with your healthcare provider if you aren’t sure what is beneficial versus destructive for your body. In addition, start slow and increase your workout routine from there. Begin with lighter weights, less time, and slower moves. Ensure your ability to safely perform these moves before moving ahead in your exercise routine.
Recommended Exercise for Seniors
It is recommended that seniors of 65 years and older engage in 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise weekly, which comes out to about 30 minutes each day. Moderate aerobic exercise includes walking, swimming, or another low-intensity activity.
If you prefer jogging, rowing, or high-intensity exercise, engage in no more than an hour and 15 minutes weekly. You should also incorporate strength training two days a week at a minimum and practice balance and flexibility daily.
Find a Workout Buddy!
Engaging in an exercise routine by yourself can tend to be boring. This might result in a lack of interest and, therefore, less commitment to the routine.
Finding a workout buddy might be the perfect solution to increasing your participation in the workouts. Whether you go to yoga classes together, take walks, or engage in rowing machine exercises, this will make your workouts more fun!
Exercise Equipment and Accessories for Seniors
There are many beneficial exercise machines for a senior trying to work out. Remember that this list does not consider certain medical conditions, so be careful to avoid any exercises that cause further pain or irritation to your condition.
- Treadmill: Don’t expect yourself to run a marathon on this! However, treadmills are great because you can adjust the speed to whatever you feel capable of. In addition, treadmills are a great alternative to walking outside if the temperature or weather isn’t conducive.
- Stationary bike: This is a great workout for any fitness level, as you can adjust the bike settings to your preferred amount of resistance.
- Rowing machines: These are a great option for your workout, as they are low impact, which is easier on your joints and bones. In addition, you can row, ski, or engage in HIIT with EnergyFit’s rowing machines.
- Dumbbells: Depending upon your ability, you can get anywhere from one pound weights to 50 pound weights! Whether you focus on weight training one day or lift a few pounds after doing a cardio workout, weights are always great to have on hand.
- A yoga mat: Yoga is a great exercise to do a couple of times a week. Having a mat will decrease stress on your joints and will increase overall comfort during the workout.
A TV or laptop: Having an electronic device is important for a couple of reasons. First, if using a workout machine, you might enjoy watching your favorite movie, baking show, or other entertainment to make the exercise more exciting.
Second, consider using a TV for Zumba classes, weight training videos, and other workouts that are available. This will keep your workout unique and fun!
If you still need suggestions for beneficial workout routines, EnergyFit’s rowing machines are the perfect go-to!
In addition, if you find that you cannot engage in the high-intensity settings of these machines, they can be adjusted to meet your fitness needs. These machines offer several beneficial features…
- The ability to choose between rowing, ski training, or mixed erg HIIT workouts
- Heart-pounding air-flywheel resistance and available additional magnetic resistance
- Gas-assist cylinder
- Rust-proof extruded aluminum seat-slider beam
- Convenient front-mounted wheels for easy transport
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Heart rate connectivity
- Adjustable foot straps
- Console readouts with time, pace, stroke, rate, distance, calories, watts, and heart rate
- Programs involving time, distance, or calorie goals, and time or distance intervals
Summing It Up
When it comes to working out as a senior, your options are endless. Finding a combination of exercises that improve endurance, flexibility, strength, and balance will provide the greatest number of benefits.
Be aware of your limitations, and don’t push yourself beyond your abilities. Start slow and increase from there. There are many types of equipment helpful for seniors looking to work out.
You may find that EnergyFit’s rowing machines meet your needs when it comes to finding a good exercise routine. Don’t let your age stop you! Get out there and make your workouts happen!