Take the Work Out of Workouts with Activities You Enjoy
The key to getting fit and maintaining your fitness is consistency. You have to stick with it if you want to get the health benefits of exercise. But doing your 150 minutes of exercise every week is easier said than done for seniors. Especially if you’ve got aches and pains that come with aging. The good news is that staying physically active can make those aches and pains feel better. Not only that, the benefits of physical activity for seniors include lower blood pressure, improved sleep, and reduced risk of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, and injuries from falls.
To Stay Motivated, Make Fitness Fun
The best way to keep up with a regular exercise program is to find physical activities you enjoy. Try several activities during the week to add variety to your routine while working different muscle groups. Games, gardening, stretching, and even walking the dog all count towards building a weekly activity plan. The important thing is to find what works for you and build up to more activity over time. Here are a few suggestions for adding variety to your fitness program. You’ll find all of them and more at Sedgebrook.
The pool is a great place to build strength and endurance. Resistance training in water is easy on your muscles and joints. Exercising in water also allows you to work on your balance without worrying about falling and hurting yourself. You might also try swimming classes or water volleyball. At Sedgebrook, water volleyball classes can help keep your fitness level and your spirits high.
People performing tai chi flow between different postures in a slow and focused manner, keeping their body in constant motion. But don’t let the slow motion fool you into thinking it’s not much of a workout. As an aerobic workout, tai chi for seniors is equivalent to a brisk walk. And as a resistance training routine, studies have found it similar to weight training. Recent studies have also shown tai chi reduces falls in seniors by up to 45%. By making you firmer on your feet, tai chi also reduces your fear of falling.
This mind–body practice offers both mental and physical benefits for seniors. At its most basic, yoga uses breath control, meditation and physical poses to achieve health benefits and relaxation. The slow, careful movements of yoga can improve strength, balance and flexibility. Meditation and breathing techniques help you manage stress and boost your mood. In fact, studies show yoga has a greater impact on enhancing mood and reducing anxiety than other forms of exercise. Practicing yoga regularly may also improve your willpower and shift your focus toward wellness rather than instant gratification, like that chocolate chip cookie after lunch.
Table tennis is a surprisingly good way to keep your mind and body sharp. The speed of the game sharpens reflexes and helps maintain hand–eye coordination. It may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease according to Dr. Mehmet Oz, who describes ping-pong as his favorite brain sport. The constant movement and change of direction also helps improve your balance. Plus, it’s a fun way to meet people and engage in friendly competition. If a table isn’t available, try the Wii version. Wii sports, including ping-pong and bowling, offer virtually the same health benefits as the original games.
Variety is the Spice of Life at Sedgebrook
Sedgebrook has partnered with the National Institute for Fitness and Sport to provide a dynamic physical fitness program for residents. In addition to group and personal training classes in our fitness and aquatic center, there are walking trails and a wide range of clubs offering recreational activities — everything from billiards and biking to golfing and walking.
For more information about physical recreation activities at Sedgebrook, visit our Wellness page.