The key to remaining active lies in adjusting your fitness routine. Yes, you can still ride a bike, play tennis, and jog, but you may not be able to do it at the same intensity as you once did. It’s important to continue doing what you enjoy, but be aware of your physical limitations.
Here are some tips for staying fit in your senior years.
Listen to your body.
While it may be good to push yourself a bit, know when to stop. If the exercise becomes difficult, or if you are experiencing labored breathing or fatigue, you may have reached your limit. It’s time to take a break.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Because you may not see or hear as well as you once did, being aware of your surroundings is extremely important. If you’re riding a bike, for example, be aware of cars and pedestrians, and never wear headphones. Be in the ‘now.’
Dress for the activity.
Biking requires a helmet, and all activities require the proper footwear. Dress in layers so you can add and remove clothing based on your internal thermostat. Dress for comfort, not fashion.
You may not feel thirsty, but drinking plenty of liquids and keeping your body hydrated—especially in hot weather—is essential. While this amount varies from person to person, a good rule of thumb is to drink at least eight ounces of water per day.
Watch the weather.
Seniors are vulnerable to extreme heat and cold. Dress appropriately and plan your exercise accordingly.
Warm up and cool down. As simple as this sounds, many individuals skip these important steps. Warming up helps prepare your body for the workout while cooling down helps reduce your heart rate.
To stay fit, seniors should focus on three primary exercises
These include walking, running, swimming—actually, any physical activity that increases your heart rate. To remain fit, experts suggest 30 minutes of moderately intensive aerobic exercise daily.
These include lifting weights, doing squats, push-ups, and even heavy gardening such as digging and shoveling. Try to perform strengthening exercises on major muscle groups at least twice a week. Limit your sessions to 30 minutes and don’t exercise the same sets of muscles on back-to-back days. These exercises not only make you feel and move better but they also reduce the rate at which your bones become weaker and can help prevent fractures resulting from a fall.
These include flexing and stretching and may be some of the most important exercises you will do. Try yoga, Pilates, or check your local gym to find a program or class that is right for you. Flexibility exercises help seniors remain mobile by reducing joint stiffness.
Make exercise part of your daily routine. Getting older doesn’t mean becoming sedentary. Get up and get moving!