While it may seem counterintuitive, exercise gives you energy, local experts say. And as we age, it’s all the more important to keep moving. Here, some area senior caregivers and fitness trainers offer appropriate exercises to stay active throughout your golden years.
Craig Marcacci, CM Fitness
• BACK TO BASICS: Perform basic movements that improve strength, balance, posture, flexibility, cardiovascular health and mobility of joints.
• WEEKLY WORKOUTS: Provided the exercise is not too intense and is focused on various components of fitness, two to six workouts per week, with 10 to 25 reps per movement and 20 to 50 minutes per session, are recommended.
• MIX IT UP: Avoid performing the same exercise routine consecutive days by including a mix of resistance-training, walking, water aerobics, Tai Chi or a stretch class.
• CUSTOMIZE IT: Different decades do not call for different exercises, but differing abilities and needs do—some need greater emphasis on balance and joint mobility, while others need strength and flexibility.
• SLOW AND STEADY: With slow and smooth form, use a full range of motion and keep good posture and proper body alignment during basic movements.
Carolynn Hoffman, MediNurse
• THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: Use a combination of three types of fitness: aerobic, strength-training and balance, at least three times a week, for 30 minutes.
• MAINTAIN MUSCLE MASS: As we age, working out harder can help maintain our muscle mass and bone density to prevent falls and other medical conditions.
• BE HEART-HEALTHY: Exercise can strengthen your immune system, increase bone density, and lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
• PREVENT INJURY: While workouts can lower the chance of injury, they also can make a world of difference pre- and post-surgery for those who require it.
• POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Even when you don’t enjoy it, tell yourself, I can do this— it makes you look better, feel better, sleep better, resist infections more easily and actually gives you more energy.
Ryan Whittington, Seniors Home Care
• NO GYM REQUIRED: Exercises for seniors can include walking or riding a stationary bike for the lower body, performing chair exercises for balance, and using light water bottles, hand weights or wrist weights for the upper body.
• EXERCISE YOUR FREEDOM: Maintaining an exercise program may prevent or delay the need for moving outside the home into a nursing facility.
• EXPAND YOUR MIND: Seniors should not only exercise their bodies, but also maintain a brain fitness routine through activities such as cards, board games and computer games.
• LISTEN TO YOUR PHYSICIAN: It’s important to follow exercise plans ordered or approved by your doctor, and a physical therapist or trainer can help ensure movements are being completed correctly.
• SEEK SUPPORT: Success in an exercise routine is found when the activities are appealing, motivating and fun, and a support coach is essential.