Strength secrets for seniors

There are plenty of reasons to get active this summer – from keeping up with the grandkids, regaining your independence or simply enjoying the warm weather. It’s the perfect time of year to make a positive lifestyle change.

As you get older, an active lifestyle becomes more important than ever.

While we all slow down with age, a sedentary lifestyle fatigues us and can cost us our ability to enjoy our previously enjoyed activities.

The good news is that it’s never too late to start. Muscle can be built at any age and could even help to undo some bad habits and signs of aging. Regular exercise can boost your energy, help you maintain your independence, and manage symptoms of pain from preexisting conditions or illnesses. 

The key to sustainable activity level is to build a routine that you can maintain over time; a great way of accomplishing this is to find a way to incorporate extra activity into things you already enjoy.

A word of caution before you begin – always consult with your physician first to gain clearance on your fitness plans. If you happen to have pre-existing conditions, be extra careful – you may want to consider modifying your workout accordingly.

  • Find activities that are easy on the joints, and always start at a slow rate – you can build up the intensity level over time. Remember, it’s okay to take a break! Don’t exercise if you are ill, your joints are swollen or warm to the touch, or if you enflame a symptom of a previous injury. And don’t forget to warm up and cool down with ten minutes of gentle aerobics.
  • Walking, climbing stairs, and swimming are all great for improving your endurance and lessening your feelings of fatigue. This type of aerobic activity can be accomplished while you are out running errands – if the weather agrees, why not park at the far end of the parking lot and enjoy the sun? Gardening, mowing the lawn, or taking pets for walks are all excellent sunny day activities that will help you beat your sedentary slump.
  • If you’re a social butterfly who wants meet like-minded people, join a walking club or take a stroll over to your local health club and try a class. These types of programs double as a great way to keep your motivation – not only is it more fun to exercise with someone, it also helps to keep a routine when you have a schedule and social element.
  • Be creative to account for any physical limitations you may have. Try some aqua jogging with a floatation aid to keep you at surface level. Seated yoga can build flexibility and is safe to do any fitness level; these types of activities are ideal low-stress workouts that can do wonders for your range of movement.
  • At home, you can train for strength and build muscle with everyday items; lift objects such as grocery bags, bottles, or cans. Remember, always start slowly; your movements should be performed in a gentle and cautious manner. Your newfound strength will turn putting those groceries away from a necessary pain to an opportunity for self-improvement.

That muscle will come in handy when you need to lift up the grandkids, get up from bed or into the car and will be especially important if you need to stick a landing after a fall.

The intensity of your exercises should be determined by paying close attention to your body. If something begins to hurt, don’t push it; an injury will set you back and may cause some serious damage if you overexert yourself.

Make exercise a priority this summer, and your body will thank you, especially when you need that extra bit of flexibility in your everyday life – like when tying your shoes! With a heightened mood, increased metabolism, and improved balance, your only worry will be getting that perfect tan!