No matter your age or your current physical condition, you can benefit from exercise. Reaping the rewards of exercise doesn’t require strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. It’s about adding more movement and activity to your life, even in small ways. There are many simple ways to get your body in shape and improve your health.
For optimal health of older Americans, the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends a total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes total of vigorous activity. For additional health benefits, 300 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity is recommended, or 150 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity.
DHHS also suggests that older people, especially, perform two sessions of muscle- and bone-building resistance training per week. Balance exercises three times per week to prevent falls are recommended for those 65 and older.
Staying in shape with regular exercise can help boost energy, maintain your independence, and manage symptoms of illness or pain. Exercise can even reverse some of the symptoms of aging. And not only is exercise good for your body, it’s also good for your mind, mood, and memory. Whether you are generally healthy or are managing an illness, there are plenty of ways to get more active, improve confidence, and boost your fitness.
Starting or maintaining a regular exercise routine can be challenging, as you get older. If you’ve never exercised before, you may not know where to begin. You may be concerned about doing more harm than good. Or maybe you’re of the mindset that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” But, none of these are reasons to give up.
These types of exercise are especially beneficial for mature adults:
- Water aerobics and water sports – working out in water is the perfect exercise for seniors because it is considered low-impact. Water reduces stress and strain on the body’s joints.
- Walking – it’s the perfect way to get in shape. It requires no special equipment, aside from a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and can be done anywhere.
- Senior sports or fitness classes – these classes can help keep you motivated while also providing a source of fun, stress relief, and a place to meet friends. You can even take a class in your own living room via many of the free streaming workouts online.
- Yoga – this calming exercise combines a series of poses with breathing. Moving through the poses works on strength, flexibility and balance. You don’t have to be super flexible to benefit. Yoga can be adapted to any level.
- Tai Chi and Qi Gong – these martial arts-inspired systems of movement increase balance and strength. Classes for seniors are often available at your local YMCA or community center or even online.