Physical activity becomes imperative for the 65+ age group. Whether you decide to join a class in the local fitness center or design a fitness program that will work just for you remember that there are six must-have components of any senior fitness program: dynamic warm-up, flexibility, aerobic activity, balance, muscular fitness, and cool-down exercises.
Dynamic warm-ups for elderly need to be low intensity to prepare your muscles for a higher intensity activity. A proper warm-up will help to flex your muscles and joints, avoid injury and soreness after a workout.
Seniors stretching should be completed 2 to 3 times per week. Each stretching session should consist of one or two stretches for each body region, performing each stretch at least 3 20-second holds. Incorporate stretching into the warm-up. During stretching make sure you don’t bounce, stop if you feel any pain, and don’t combine turning and bending back exercises at the same time. Remember, flexibility training should be completed regularly with the correct form and duration of each stretch.
Aging combined with physical decline decreases your maximum heart rate, which affects the muscle’s capability to work as hard and as long as it used to. To bring your heart rate up and to increase your muscle’s productivity, include cardio activity into your fitness program. Start
with low intensity exercises such as walking or biking and gradually start to increase endurance with activities like walking briskly, tennis, dance or swimming. Always monitor your heart rate during aerobic activity. If you feel too comfortable with moderate endurance exercise, go for high intensity activity such as hiking or running. At least 3x15min sessions of weekly cardio exercise will keep you in shape, reduce the impact of illness and chronic disease, improve your sleep, enhance mobility, and boost your mood.
Each year 28%- 45% of seniors fall. Balance declines as we age and needs to be maintained. Building up the strength of core muscles to support the spine results in greater balance and stability. To strengthen the core muscles, include any traditional callisthenic exercises, such as yoga or dance into your daily routine.
Lifting should be an integral part of senior fitness program because it prevents risk of injury ,a sudden heart attack, promotes bone health, makes you stronger, develops better body mechanics such as improved coordination or a proper posture, improve glucose control and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
When performing muscular fitness, make sure to find a balance between increased weight and preventing injury. Begin with light resistance or no resistance at all. Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions, while gradually
adding weight every two weeks to increase intensity. Have at least a 48 hours break between each muscular fitness session. If you prefer to exercise daily, try working on different muscles groups, to allow your muscles to heal in preparation for future muscular fitness sessions.
Incorporate yoga, tai chi, pilates or post-workout breathing exercises into your daily fitness program. It is necessary to allow the body to return to its resting state. Failure to complete a cooling-down process can lead to soreness or an injury. Relaxation exercises bring the heart rate to its resting state, increases flexibility of joints, and reduces stress.
The combination of all five components will help you to create a perfect fitness program
for yourself. Check our seniors page for more healthy tips for 65+ or to request a FREE individualized fitness program to meet your needs today! Call WPHHA at (412) 421-0909 to get started today!
Western Pennsylvania home Health Association is a non-profit organization, servicing clients throughout Western Pennsylvania. At WPHHA we have coined the term “mobile healthcare services” to meet your needs on your time. These include in-home nursing, non-medical homecare and rehabilitation services. Our main concern is to help you or your loved ones maintain the highest level of wellness and independence possible.