No matter your age, fitness is important. And it becomes even more important as the years go by. Fitness keeps the mind alert and sharp, strengthens the immune system and leads to longer life. So, what do you do when your body starts to slow down a bit?
You keep moving and find exercises catered to your condition. When hitting your 60s, the body is more prone to getting injured. But exercise helps to stop injury before it happens.
Think of your body as a car. If you don’t keep up with the maintenance of your vehicle, it is bound to fall apart. Even worse, you run the risk of getting into an accident. That’s how the body reacts when you lack proper exercise, especially in your senior years.
You’ll notice that senior citizens who are vibrant and healthy also exercise. The perfect combo includes cardio, muscle training, stretching and balance.
Here are five exercises to cover all four of those bases:
Exercise #1: Ballroom/Salsa/Line Dancing. Dancing makes for great exercise. You can find all types of dance classes in your area by searching online. The best thing about these classes is that they are group activities. Since you’ll be meeting with a group of people, everyone can serve as accountability partners. Even better, dancing is fun. Some of the most popular dance classes include ballroom, salsa and line dancing.
Exercise #2: Muscle Training. Work those muscles. Start light. Strong muscles are less inclined to injury, and they heal quicker. There are many exercises you can do right in the comfort of your home. Consider doing back leg raises. Grab the back of your chair and get your balance. Then kick one leg straight back as you breathe in. Hold the position for just one second. As you lower your leg, exhale slowly. Repeat the exercise nine more times with that leg (a total of 10). Then switch legs and repeat. Do about two sets of 10 reps on each leg. If you want to increase the difficulty of your training, put on leg weights.
Exercise #3: Yoga. Here’s a 3-in-1. Yoga covers stretching, balance and muscle training. The best place to start is with the Warrior 2 pose. Stand up straight with your legs separated wider than shoulder length. Turn one foot outward by 90 degrees as the other foot continues to point forward. Create a T formation with your arms, leaving your hands in blades. Turn your head in the direction of your 90-degree pointed foot. Then shift the weight of your body into your pointed leg until your knee is bent and your leg is at a 90-degree angle. Keep your back leg straight and your knee locked.
Exercise #4: Chair Yoga. If you are unable to get out of a chair, no problem. Try chair yoga. Here’s one exercise. As you sit in a chair, keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees together. Breathe in. Then slowly bend over toward your knees with your arms dangling to your sides as you start to exhale. Keep your shoulders rounded. Hold this yoga pose for up to three breaths.
Exercise #5: Light Jog/Brisk Walk. Outside or on the treadmill? Take your pick. If you take a slow jog or even a quick walk around the lake, it will help you twofold. You’ll get the cardio you need, not to mention the fresh air and sunlight, which is good for your energy levels and mood. Just make sure you keep a bottle of water on hand.
Remember to always consult with your physician before trying new exercises. Everyone’s health conditions are different. So while some exercises might be good for some, they may not be the best idea for others.
Quick Morning Stretch Routine
Stretch #1: Sky Reach. Stand up straight and reach your hands toward the sky. Clasp your hands together as you extend your arms and torso.
Stretch #2: Mix It Up. Stand straight up with your feet apart. Let your arms hang loosely. Move your head and torso from left to right. Your arms will naturally swing from side to side as you rotate your body from side to side.
Stretch #3: Toe Reach. Find a comfortable space on the floor. Sit on your bottom upright with your legs together out in front of you. Reach your hands as close to your feet as you can. Do not strain yourself.