You don’t need to look for a cure to aging. Getting older isn’t a disease.
What does need a cure, however, is the unhealthy lifestyle that many older Americans follow.
So instead of opting for expensive (and potentially harmful) antiaging treatments, try a senior wellness program. If you want a healthier, more active senior life, there’s no substitute for diet and exercise to keep you living well.
In our last blog, we talked about how making a commitment to eating well could reduce your risk for chronic disease and improve the quality of senior living.
Today, we’ll look at how regular exercise can benefit seniors.
Just check out the stories from older Americans who are enjoying happier and healthier lives through regular exercise. Get inspired, and start your own exercise program in 5 simple steps.
1. Try to exercise at least 2 and a half hours every week.
Getting as little as an hour of exercise every week can bring a marked improvement to senior living, but the longer and more intense your activity, the more benefits you’ll see. Just keep these exercise guidelines from the Harvard School of Public Heath in mind as you plan your fitness routine:
- If you don’t currently exercise and aren’t very active during the day, any increase in exercise or physical activity is good for you. Just make sure that you aren’t trying to do too much too soon. Start out slow, and then gradually build up the length and intensity of your workouts over time.
- You don’t have to squeeze your whole activity for the week, or even for the day, into a single session. In fact, it’s better if you space out your exercise throughout the week, and, if you don’t have much time for a longer workout during the day, a few 10-minute session throughout the day can have a cumulative effect.
2. Work your way up to moderate aerobic activities.
Any activity that makes your heart beat faster like power walking, dancing, or even chores like raking leaves helps keep you independent and living well.
Just make sure you start out slowly. You start seeing the most drastic improvements to the your health and the quality of your senior living once you work your way up to 30 minutes of activity a day on most days of the week.
3. Aim for a mixture of strength and balance exercises.
Try switching up what kind of activities you do so that you can improve both your strength and your balance.
- Try these simple strength exercises you can do at home or engage in housework that requires you to lift light weights like doing laundry or gardening twice a week.
- Work on your balance with yoga, tai chi or other home exercises three times a week (check out these blogs on balance exercises and yoga moves you can do at home).
4. Be exercise savvy.
Don’t let your limitations stop you from exercising. Very few health problems make exercise a physical impossibility. Even older adults with disabilities, severe weight problems, or other health and age-related conditions can safely exercise if they start slow and work their way up to a moderate level of physical activity.
Before you start any kind of senior wellness program, talk with your healthcare provider to see how much activity is safe for your level of fitness and physical ability. Older adults who are starting out from a sedentary lifestyle or have chronic illnesses or other medical conditions should be especially cautious.
5. Reap the benefits of regular exercise.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, regular exercise can:
- Lower your risk for chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer and reduce your chances of suffering a stroke or heart attack.
- Help you stay more active and independent by improving your strength and balance.
- Improve your mental wellness by fighting depression.
- Enhance your brain fitness.