Ask any senior that appears to be aging gracefully what they are doing to maintain their health and they will always answer with “keeping active.” Regular physical activity can help prevent and delay the onset of numerous illnesses such as diabetes, heart conditions and arthritis. Exercise also helps to reduce stress and improve overall well-being, cognitive function, and even sleep. A short-term benefit, an overall enhancement of mood has been noted after exercise thanks to the release of endorphins. Even minimal activity can make a difference to your wellbeing as being sedentary will put your health at risk. So what kinds of activities are suitable for your aging body? Here are a list of some low-impact, gentle forms of exercise and physical activity:
Tai Chi: Engages flexibility, balance, muscular strength, and mental capacity through a series of continuous slow-motion movements.
Water Aerobics: Water based exercise that is a combination of cardiovascular as well as resistance exercise to help maintain range of motion and increase metabolism.
Gardening: An activity that will engage many of your muscle groups as well as help strengthen joint flexibility.
Brisk Walking: Low impact exercise that will decrease blood pressure and help you get a good night’s sleep.
Remember to consult your doctor first before implementing any new routine of physical activity. It’s important to consider any pre-existing health conditions you may have that could possibly worsen with the onset of exercise. When beginning a new program of exercise, make sure to give ample time to rest and recover. And if you think commitment may be an issue, join a weekly class or have a buddy or friend group to do activities with. Participating with friends will make exercise into a social activity rather than a commitment. Remember to stay hydrated, set realistic goals and have fun!