How seniors can approach exercise

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

Physical activity is one of the most important things seniors can do for their health and can potentially prevent many health problems associated with aging.

Exercise is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. By making exercise part of a day-to-day routines, people of all ages, including men and women over the age of 65, can greatly improve their overall health.

The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that seniors should aspire to be as active as possible. Exercise is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine and has been linked to reduced risk for diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. Though adults with chronic illnesses may be hesitant to exercise, the AAFP notes that it’s possible for men and women who have been diagnosed with such conditions to exercise safely. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that regular physical activity is one of the most important things seniors can do for their health and can potentially prevent many health problems associated with aging.

Frequency of exercise

Seniors, particularly those who have not exercised much in the past, may not know how much exercise they need to reap the full rewards of physical activity. Though it’s best to discuss exercise with a physician prior to beginning a new regimen, various public health agencies advise seniors to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise each week. Brisk walking is one example of moderate aerobic exercise. Seniors who want to sweat a little more when exercising can replace moderate aerobic exercise with one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as jogging, each week.

Is strength training safe for seniors?

The CDC advises seniors to incorporate muscle-strengthening activities into their weekly fitness routines twice per week. Lifting weights, working with resistance bands, heavy gardening and even some forms of yoga qualify as muscle-strengthening activities. Exercises that use your body weight for resistance, such as sit-ups and push-ups, also can help build strength. Always speak with a physician before beginning a muscle-strengthening exercise regimen and, if possible, work with a personal trainer, especially if you’re a novice.

When to stop a workout

It’s imperative that seniors recognize when to stop working out. Exercising more than is recommended by your doctor can increase the risk of illness or injury. In addition, stop exercising if any of the following symptoms appear:

  • Dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Swollen joints
  • Nausea
  • Tightness in muscles or joints
  • Pain anywhere in the body
  • Throbbing or burning sensations

Exercise can help seniors stay healthy and feel more energetic throughout the day. Before beginning a new regimen, seniors should discuss physical activity with their physicians.

– Courtesy Metro Creative

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