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Low-impact Exercises Help Seniors Look and Feel Great
Some seniors have an unfortunate view of what their later years should look like. After working all their lives, they feel they have earned the right to sit around, take it easy, and adopt a very sedentary routine. Other seniors, without putting things into words, simply slip into an inactive lifestyle and get used to it. What these folks don’t realize is that by minimizing their physical activity, they are actually putting themselves on a path toward increased frailty, obesity, illness, and a general decreased quality of life. Those who make a conscious effort to keep themselves healthy and strong enjoy more years of life and more energy along the way.
Yoga and Pilates
Exercise for seniors doesn’t have to mean pumping iron or running miles per day. Yoga and Pilates have achieved great popularity for their accessibility, minimal strain on the body, and great health benefits. Best of all, seniors can do these exercises at home in their own living room. You may feel more comfortable if there is an in-home caregiver present to provide help in case your senior needs it, but nearly everyone can perform basic exercises with little risk of injury.
Your senior’s yoga or Pilates routine may well become one of the highlights of her day. It’s hard to describe the long-lasting energy and general good feeling that a vigorous morning session provides! A senior who works out on a daily basis will be more energetic, more alert, and searching for something to do other than sit in front of the television.
Walking is another activity that tops the list of senior-friendly but highly beneficial exercises. The cardiovascular system loves a good walk, giving the heart critical support as a senior’s risk of cardiac disease increases with age. Sunshine and fresh air are extra bonuses, supplying vitamin D and giving the lungs a break from recirculated indoor air on a regular basis.
Gardening and light yard work are also great activities for most seniors. If family members or professional caregivers can help with heavy items or tasks requiring a little more strength, seniors can create beautiful green areas and enjoy a sense of accomplishment—not to mention delicious vegetables in season!
Extending Life and Happiness
In the short term, turning on a favorite TV show might seem much more enjoyable than a 30-minute muscle stretch or walk around the block. But keep reminding your elderly loved one of how good she feels all day long after just a short workout, and the long-term benefits will come into focus. Once the body gets used to regular exercise, it won’t want to give it up—and that is good news for continued good health.
Photo by SOMBILON ART, MEDIA and PHOTOGRAPHY