Not everyone enjoys exercise but studies do show that seniors who keep physically fit are able to live independently longer, and isn’t that our goal? People who exercise have better balance, and this can help to avoid potentially serious injuries from falling. Furthermore, when you exercise, you have more energy so you can do more of the things you enjoy doing, such as spending time with your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren – who want you around for a long time.
The fact is, it’s not hard for most seniors to get some beneficial physical activity into their day; additionally, it can even be fun and a good way to socialize. Just walking down to our dining area, causes you to get up and out, at least 3 times a day. You don’t need to work out in a gym, you can go for brisk walk outdoors, you can dance, and take the stairs instead of elevators. Not only can you delay disease and other aging problems with exercise, you can also feel better emotionally.
Four Ways to be Active
The National Institute on Aging recommends that seniors incorporate all four types of exercise into their daily physical activity regimen: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.
1) Endurance. Try to build up to at least 30 minutes of activity that leaves you breathing hard. You can do it in 10-minute increments, you can do it 3-5 times a week. Start low and slow and increase duration and energy level as you get more fit. Safety first, we recommend doing all fitness activity with a “buddy”.
2) Strength. Everything you do requires muscles: getting up from a chair, lifting a grandchild, or carrying groceries are all things you’d like to be able to do without needing assistance. Keeping your muscles in shape keeps you independent.
3) Balance. Falls are the leading cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence, and injury deaths among seniors. Practicing standing on one foot and walking heel to toe can help you improve your balance. Use our balance bar in the wellness center, to help with this activity.
4) Flexibility. Stretching is something you can do anytime and anywhere. Stretch your arms, legs, neck, and back. You’ll find it easier to tie your shoes, look over your shoulder when backing out of the driveway, and reach for things whether they’re on a high shelf or the ground. Gentle yoga with our exercise instructor, starts the day out right for our residents here at Crestview. Add a good cup of coffee, and a healthy breakfast, and you are on your way to those true “Golden Years”!