No matter your age, exercise is important. It is especially important among the senior population who tend to not have enough daily activity incorporated into their routines. A lack of exercise can lead to many negative conditions including obesity, diabetes, immobility, higher risk of falling, heart disease, a weakened mind, etc. The good news is, that even adding a little bit of exercise into a senior’s daily routine yields big results!
Speak with your primary care physician to determine a good starting point. They will often have suggestions of activities that are appropriate for you rather than activities that might overtax your body or are too minimal to create a substantial impact. Stay in touch with your doctor throughout the whole process. That way if there are any issues, such as prolonged soreness, they can help ensure that problems don’t occur again by working with you to create a more individualized plan.
Set aside a certain amount of time for daily exercise. This could be 10-20 minutes initially and include very moderate activities like walking, doing chores, or completing some light yard work. Once the activities become easier (as a senior, you really shouldn’t be working out to the point where you are sore), it’s okay to increase the time spent exercising.
What are your favorite things to do? Enjoying your workout is one of the most important factors to successfully maintaining a workout routine. Some people like to workout alone while others enjoy working out in groups. A few activities which are simple, but easy to do include: walking around the shopping mall or grocery store, parking further away than usual, going swimming, engaging in group activities at the senior center, or even taking it high tech and playing with an Xbox Kinect or Wii (if your grandchildren don’t have one, many seniors centers do).
Volunteer work is another great way to get your daily allotment of exercise and one of the best things to maintain a positive mental attitude. Local hospitals are always looking for more volunteers. Whether you are showing people around, delivering gifts and flowers, or simply running errands, volunteering at a hospital is a great way to stay active and engage in your local community in a very positive manner. Remember, exercise helps keep your heart strong, allows you to independently perform daily activities of living for a longer time, improves mental positivity, and gives you better sleep—just to name a few benefits.
Jacob Edward is the manager ALTCS. Jacob founded ALTCS in 2007 as a no-fee service aimed at helping seniors apply for and receive Arizona Long Term Care benefits. ALTCS also provides assistance to seniors and the disabled if they’re in need of care services.