Welcome to part one in our series of articles focusing on exercise and senior health. We’ll be covering a wide variety of topics such as how to get started on exercise, what’s best for your activity level, and how to avoid injuries while exercising. We hope you enjoy our foray into fitness together!
Exercise is a vital part of well-being and a key to living a long and healthy life. It’s an essential part of maintaining our overall health, helping us to have higher energy and a healthy bone mass and body weight; it can even help manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Regular exercise can also lower the risk of muscles and bones becoming weaker and more prone to injury as we age. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association recommends exercise most days of the week, even for seniors.
To make exercise easier and more accessible for our residents, Oakmont regularly offers fitness classes as part of our daily activity schedule. We encourage our residents to take charge of their health and well-being by exercising in a safe and meaningful way that creates enjoyment, whether it’s with chair yoga, an aerobics class or a relaxing walk. By maintaining an active lifestyle, you can help yourself, a friend or loved one live a long, independent, and healthy life.
Here are a few places to get you started if you haven’t exercised in some time or need to consider your activity level before you begin. Please note that whenever embarking on any kind of fitness routine, it’s always best to speak with your doctor beforehand.
- Walking: Walking is one of the best forms of exercise you can do. You can join a friend, take a stroll around your neighborhood with your pet, join a walking club in your senior living community, or find a local park to visit. The benefits of walking have been long proven to be extremely effective at supporting your bones and joints, lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and heart disease, and improving overall health.
- Water aerobics: A favorite amongst those that enjoy exercising in an aquatic environment, water aerobics is widely used for its non-impact form of movement. Generally led by an instructor, water aerobics uses the buoyancy of water to decrease pressure on sensitive joins, and increase muscle and bone mass by using water resistance with foam weights. Water aerobics can help improve balance, heart health, and joint mobility. The water can be a safe space to jump, lift your legs and even return to walking for those post-surgery and injury. Classes for water aerobics can be found at senior living communities, aquatic center community pools, or even your local gym wherever a pool is available.
- Yoga: This 5,000-year-old system of exercise is widely known for reducing stress and improving overall health while being a gentle, moderate form of exercise. For those looking to improve overall strength and flexibility while reducing stress, this is an ideal choice of physical activity which can be done on a mat, standing, or even in a chair. The benefits of yoga are many, but most notice a better mood, greater flexibility, a leaner and more toned body, improved balance, and an overall increase in strength with regular practice.
- Tai chi: Tai chi is a very common, popular form of exercise among seniors all over the world. Similar in intensity to yoga, tai chi involves a series of sequenced movements performed in a slow, focused manner accompanied by deep breathing. Those that practice tai chi generally notice decreased stress, anxiety and depression, improved mood, improved aerobic capacity, better balance, and increased energy and stamina. To learn more or find out where classes might be provided near you, check your local senior center for when classes are held at parks or other community areas.
No matter what form of exercise you choose, getting up and staying active is a positive daily activity you’ll be leading to a healthy life. Please stay tuned for our next article focusing on exercise, which will cover the topic of avoiding injury while exercising.