Heart Smart: Senior-friendly Forms of Exercise
It’s no secret that exercise is one of the best steps you can take to maintain a healthy heart. Physical activity is part of living a healthy life at any age, and one of the five dimensions of wellness at Five Star Senior Living. Because it helps with weight control, blood pressure management, and stress reduction, exercise can help prevent coronary artery disease.
If you are an older adult new to fitness, getting started may be the hardest part. In honor of National Heart Month, here are a few different types of exercise that are considered to be among the best for seniors.
Senior-Friendly Forms of Exercise
If you or an older loved one is looking for a safe form of exercise, here are a few to investigate:
- Go4Life: This highly rated fitness program was developed by The National Institute on Aging. Go4Life has a variety of free resources to make it easier for seniors to get started with an exercise program and stay motivated. They will even mail a free workout DVD right to your home.
- Silver Sneakers: A national program that has grown significantly in recent years is Silver Sneakers. A membership allows seniors to workout at a variety of fitness centers in their community at no cost. Check their website to see if your insurance plan is a participating member.
- Growing Stronger: There is a growing amount of research that shows how important strength training is for our elders. It is an important step seniors can take to prevent falls. The Growing Stronger guide is free from the Centers for Disease Control. Inside you will find tips for getting started with strength training, a quiz to measure strength, goal setting advice and suggestions for staying motivated.
Several other forms of exercise are considered to be good for older adults. They include:
- Chair Yoga
- Tai Chi
These classes are often offered at local YMCA organizations and senior centers.
Kicking Off a Healthier Lifestyle
As is true with any new form of exercise, talk about what you’d like to do with your primary care physician. He or she can help you determine what type of exercise is best to start with and how much.
Most health experts recommend adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. You can break that down in to one 30-minute workout per day or two-fifteen minute sessions per day. Your physician will likely recommend you exercise five days of the week in addition to two sessions of strength training.
Our final tip is not to take shortcuts when it comes to warming up and cooling down. Both help to prevent injuries. Elder Gym has helpful warm-up exercise videos you can watch to learn more.
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