Regular exercise is a must for all of us if we want to maintain a healthy weight and stay fit and strong, but it sometimes easier said than done for older generations that may struggle with pain, disability and other ailments.
Too often as we age our world becomes smaller and smaller. You see fewer people, and you participate in fewer activities, then depression may set in.
With some simple changes and techniques, it is possible for seniors to increase their physical activity and see benefits to both their physical and mental health. All it takes are a few slow steps and a little bravery.
Do You Need It?
Physical activity can seem a lot more difficult in old age but the more often that you take part, the easier it gets. Illness and immobility may seem like obstacles, but it is all about finding a regime that suits your ability level where you can get the muscles moving and blood pumping.
Don’t think about a difficult standard cardio exercise program with lots of complicated routines, start out simple.
Can You Do It?
Think of the activities you do in day-to-day life and how to make the most of them. Housework, gardening and shopping can all be used to aid a physical regime by increasing the effort put in, the steps taken (walking in the store) or the weight lifted (lifting groceries).
You can even do simple yoga poses or lift small weights while watching television.
By staying active each day and improving physical conditions, you can also improve your sense of well-being. A walk into town or at your local park each day could give you a sense of independence and achievement. The benefits of pain relief could lead to less stress and a better mood.
There are two great approaches to a more enjoyable, productive exercise session – socialization and mindfulness.
To be mindful requires a deep connection with how the body is feeling and reacting in the moment, may not sound all that fun, but it can really help users with appreciation and stress relief. It is sort of a calm state, or mediation state, where you think of every moment you make and concentrate on each moment, and feel each gentle flowing movement. A popular martial art you may see the older people practicing is Tai Chi.
By taking an exercise class at your local Senior Center or Community Center will help you get out , see, meet, or talk to other people. Social exercise can also make the chore of exercise more fun and provides a support system.
Look at your local community center for senior-friendly yoga classes, strength and stretch classes, take longer walks in the park with your dog or enjoy window shopping on a circuit around the mall with friends.
It is advisable to talk to a doctor about your new exercise regime before starting, especially if you have pre-existing conditions, such as heart problems, but with their help and guidance, you can learn about your options and some of the warning signs to look out for. If you push too far and experience aches, dizziness or other problems, take your time to rest and understand where you went wrong.
If you can bring all of these tips together, be brave and patient, you can work towards greater physical and mental health in old age. Start with small steps and build your confidence.
Who knows you may register for the next class at your senior center for line dancing or Zumba Gold!