They say age is just a number, but as you grow older, the prospect of exercise can become daunting. Maybe you’re fatigued, unwell or injury-prone, or you find physical activity uninteresting. Perhaps you’re inexperienced and don’t know how to begin.
Though these may seem like compelling reasons to remain inactive, physical activity, when approached from a sensible, therapy-based perspective, can provide seniors with myriad benefits, including greater strength, better balance, reduced risk of injury, and more energy and endurance. However, not every type is the best for every condition, so check out some of the best physical therapy exercises for seniors able to handle high and low impact.
- Get Your Heart Pumping with Aerobic Exercise
Walking, climbing stairs, swimming, riding a bicycle, hiking and dancing will increase your heart rate, improving stamina, increasing lung capacity and reducing fatigue. By building up your exercise tolerance, you’ll be able to do day-to-day activities without getting tired out.
- Flex Those Muscles with Resistance Training
A balanced body is both fast and strong. When muscles are weak, your joints have less support, increasing your risk of injury. Whether its lifting weights, using a gym machine, pulling on rubber resistance bands or performing isometric exercises, increasing your muscle mass will allow you to do everything more easily – for example, sitting down and standing up, opening containers and moving objects. Resistance training can also improve bone density, reducing the risk of fractures.
- Find Balance with Tai Chi
Tai chi – a physical activity that started as a martial art – has transformed into a type of exercise based around a series of graceful movements. These movements are accompanied by deep, slow breathing, and flow from one to the next, keeping the body in motion. Because of its emphasis on movement, tai chi can improve your balance, helping you stay on your feet when walking, climbing stairs or traversing uneven terrain.
- Stay Flexible with Yoga
Yoga – an ancient practice which combines movement and stationary poses with breathing – can help you stay flexible. There are many styles of yoga to choose from, ranging from the gentle to the fast-paced. Whichever style you choose, yoga is a wonderful way to keep your muscles supple and your body limber, reducing the risk of injury. Greater flexibility allows you to perform movements more easily – for example, getting dressed, tying your shoes, bending over to pick up objects or turning your head.
- Swimming: One Exercise, Many Benefits
Swimming is a safe, gentle way to enjoy many of the benefits of both resistance training and aerobic exercise. Swimming increases heart rate and lung capacity, but is low-impact – there is no jarring effect on the joints – and the resistance provided by the water helps increase strength and muscle mass. Swimming may also improve your posture, flexibility and balance.
The Sooner You Start Moving, The Better You’ll Feel
A sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy at any age, but the problem becomes compounded after 50, when muscle loss increases and bones become less dense. The good news is that this process can be slowed and even reversed, by engaging in regular physical activity.