4 Best Exercises for Older Adults
Exercise is important at all stages in life, but if you haven’t been active in the past, it can be intimidating to think about starting a new exercise routine. The benefits of exercise are numerous, however, and for older adults in particular, exercise can:
- Decrease risk of certain diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, & certain cancers
- Decrease risk of falls, depression, and dementia
- Minimize joint and back pain
- Improve sleep
- Improve response to stress
Here are four kinds of exercises you can do to get started, even if you haven’t been particularly active in the past. Always make sure to consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Four Great Exercises for Older Adults
Swimming is low-impact and easy on the bones and joints, making it a perfect exercise for men or women suffering from osteoporosis. Aside from building strength, swimming also develops your sense of balance and coordination. One study done in Australia actually showed that men who swam for exercise were 33% less likely to fall than their counterparts who did other exercise.
Yoga is another great exercise to strengthen muscle while minimizing the stress on bones and joints. It helps build muscle strength, aerobic fitness, balance, core stability, mobility, and flexibility, which can help minimize falls, as well.
Body Weight Training
Weight training is an important part of a healthy exercise routine as you get older. Building that muscle strength helps improve posture and stability, which can help prevent falls. A 2015 Experimental Gerontology study of men and women ages 65 to 97 in retirement care facilities found that performing strength exercises just two times a week for three months significantly improved participants’ mobility and functional performance.
Walking is an underrated exercise regimen but one that is so important. Even if you don’t have time to do a structured workout, try to get in as many steps per day as possible. The American Heart Association recommends 10,000 steps a day, but if that’s too hard, try to make it a point to take a brisk 10-minute walk a few times a day. Some easy ways to get in extra steps include parking a little bit farther from the office or grocery, taking the elevator to the floor just below yours and walking up the remaining steps, playing with your grandkids, or walking the dog.
Check out this infographic for more great ideas: