Aging and Fitness: 6 Senior-Friendly Exercises


As an older adult, you know how important exercise is to your overall well-being. You also know your oomph to move your body isn’t what it used to be. Unfortunately for seniors, the aging process can bring an array of changes that affect energy levels and attitude toward exercise. The good news is you can learn to reengage with your workouts and make them robust and fun again, no matter what your fitness level. These six strategies will help boost the power and appeal of exercise so you can keep your body–and health–in top shape for years to come.

Work with Aging Changes

Diminished strength and muscle mass, a slowing metabolism, and decreased endurance are all changes in the body that occur naturally with age. Although they can undermine your exercise efforts, not being able to work out as vigorously as you used to or reap the same results shouldn’t keep you from exercising. Remember, aging changes are expected, but shirking exercise isn’t. Try adjusting your fitness routine to accommodate your current physical state. A low-impact Pilates session can make for a powerful workout. So can focusing on how good moving your body makes you feel.

Get Fit Together

Not only is exercising with a partner a satisfying and fun way to work out; you’re more motivated to do it when you work out together. Plus, having supportive friends to exercise with can make all the difference in your attitude toward exercise. Exercise partners are ideal for instilling confidence in your fitness capabilities, cheering on your progress, and inspiring you to raise the exercise bar. When exercising with a partner, be sure to find a pace that works for both of you as well as a system that encourages goal achievement while maintaining safety and comfort levels.

Complement Exercise with Good Nutrition

Healthy eating in the senior years will give you more energy and make you feel good, but proper nutrition can also encourage you to want to improve your health in other ways, like through physical activity. When you eat right, your exercise drive flourishes, right along with your stamina. What constitutes a healthy diet for older adults? Plenty of lean meats, beans, seafood, colorful fruits and veggies, brown rice and other whole grains, and low-fat dairy, according to the National Council on Aging. It’s also important to stay hydrated by sipping on fluids, especially water, throughout the day.

Diversify Your Fitness Activities

Boredom with fitness can make it unappealing, but you can alleviate the doldrums with some simple advice: avoid repetition. When you mix up your routine with a variety of physical activities, you keep exercise exciting while targeting different muscle groups and promoting whole body health. With so many forms of fitness tailored to the senior population today–pickleball, ballroom dancing, water aerobics, yoga, snowshoeing, and mall walking, to name a few–there’s no reason to get bored. Besides putting the punch and appeal back into exercise, variety maximizes the benefits.

Consult an Expert

As you age, it’s more important than ever to get guidance on an exercise plan that best suits your unique health status. Seek the counsel of healthcare and fitness professionals, who can also boost enthusiasm about exercise by sharing their expertise on how physical activity can treat and manage ailments, increase confidence in mobility, and improve general health. You might hire a personal trainer who specializes in exercise for seniors. A senior fitness specialist can help you set exercise goals and achieve success with strength building, balance, flexibility, and other issues facing older adults.

Stay the Course

A commitment to exercise has many advantages at any age. When you stay the fitness course, you grow stronger, healthier, and more secure about your body and capacity to work out. But for seniors, there’s even more reason to commit to a regular fitness regimen. According to the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study, exercise promotes a sense of purpose, which can be especially empowering to older adults, who benefit from structure and meaning in their lives. And it works both ways; having purpose spurs you to engage in exercise, too.

Don’t let aging keep you from embracing regular physical activity. Fitness is as important to health and well-being during the senior years as it when you’re young. These strategies will help make exercise appealing, powerful, and lifelong.

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