Weird stuff starts happening as you age and make the list of seniors. Parts start wearing out, metabolism slows, energy levels wanes, fitness levels decrease. But knowing how to combat common health problems and stay fit puts you way ahead of the game.
So, who put an age restriction on fitness and staying in good shape physically?
Fact is, one of the fastest growing groups of people enrolling in fitness centers is still baby boomers. And we are indeed senior citizens!
These days staying active and productive goes farther into years than ever before. And remaining fit and healthy is the undisputed key to staying active.
The benefits of staying active are the same for all ages:
- Increased bone strength and density
- Keeping a strong and healthy cardiovascular system
- Lowering the risk of most illnesses, diseases, cancers, and diabetes
- Decreasing stress and depression, while bettering moods
- Keeping muscle tone to look and feel your best
To stay fit as seniors, follow these simple tips to improve and maintain your best health and fitness throughout your golden years.
What is Fitness?
You, your physician, health care provider, or the postman may disagree, but this is MY own definition of fitness for seniors:
Fitness in this post is about maintaining a sound enough mind and body to enjoy going and doing.
I think it comes without saying, but in case not:
Most of us won’t be able to physically do some of the things we could do when we were younger. That’s a given, but most seniors today do want to stay mobile and enjoy their lifestyle.
Whatever your personal situation, there’s room for improvement, and the rest of this post is about how to do just that. Improve your present level of health and fitness.
How Seniors Can Combat Health Problems and Stay Fit
A lot of the changes we go through as seniors are natural occurrences to the aging process. But, some of them can be avoided, and most of them can be treated by getting fit.
Here’s some tips to help you improve your fitness level and take control of your own health.
1. Fitness Starts with Your Mindest
The first step in taking control of your health and fitness is to
Declare a fitness mindset.
Don’t waste another minute thinking “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”! It’s simply never too late to create change in your life.
The secret is your mindset. Your mindset is yours, and you’re really the only one that can change it.
You’ve learned to use a cell phones, computers, send emails, and on and on to get this far in life. Don’t let reaching the age of a senior citizen hold you back.
Allowing small changes to start taking over your life until they become your lifestyle is the key.
Start thinking and talking about things that keep you active and improve your health.
2. Exercise for Better Health
Who put an age restriction on exercising and staying in shape? If you’ve been thinking exercise is only for the younger generation, think again.
Seniors are one of the fastest growing groups of people signing up for fitness center memberships.
Why? Because we aren’t ready to sit down! Baby boomers want and expect to maintain good health and stay active for years to come. And staying active for most seniors’ hinges on a regular exercise program.
How to Get Started with Regular Exercise?
It doesn’t matter too much about your present state of physical affairs. Almost anyone can do some sort of physical exercise starting from where they are now.
However, you will want to give your present physical condition some thought before getting started with these 3 questions:
- What are my present aches and pains?
- How’s my blood pressure?
- Any breathing problems?
Those might even be questions to take up with your physician before starting any rigorous exercise program.
Focus on Your Cardiovascular System
Any senior exercise routine should start out with cardio exercises, because a strong heart is the crux of staying active.
Cardio exercises (aerobic exercises) are anything that raises your heart and breathing rate. Think brisk walks, jogging, swimming, stair stepping, or hiking.
These senior exercises for better sleep will keep you fit and active while lowering the risk of many diseases and ailments common to the senior population.
It’s natural to lose muscle strength and tone as you age but the loss is the number one cause of injury among older adults.
Losing muscle tone and strength makes it easy to lose your balance, and then not have the strength to recover before hitting the floor.
Any exercise, including cardio exercises helps improve muscle tone. However, the regular use of very light dumbbells or resistance bands is another great option.
I wouldn’t consider replacing cardio workouts with any other workout. But learning how to tone your body at home without equipment will keep you fit and active.
3. Healthy Nutrition to Stay Fit
A healthy diet is important to anyone, and even more so to seniors.
A common illness in seniors is diabetes, and you can avoid and control existing diabetes with nutrition. Even osteoporosis and arthritis respond to consuming the right nutrition.
The nation as a whole is obese! We are and have been in an obesity epidemic of crisis proportions for several years, and it’s getting worse.
Believe it or not, as a senior you do not need as many calories as you did when you were younger. It’s easy to find yourself overweight and eating simply because there’s nothing else to do.
Whether you’re a senior or a teenager, when you consume more calories than you use for energy, you naturally accumulate more fat. Before long, you lose control of your weight and significantly raise the risk of most illnesses and cancers.
As important as healthy nutrition is to the entire population, it’s even more important to seniors. And different than younger generations, you know what it means to eat healthy.
Maintaining a diet built around nutritious and wholesome meals is the ticket to good health and fitness for seniors and everyone else.
4. Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is an important part of staying healthy! It’s the time set aside for your body to repair itself and revitalize your immune system.
I’ll stress this again; getting enough rest doesn’t include lying back in the recliner all day and eating yourself happy.
Quality sleep is just as important to seniors as to any age group, maybe more? Especially when you learn that sleep is important to your memory as well as being able to concentrate.
Just like everybody else in the world, you need 8 or 9 hours of quality sleep every night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, here’s 22 proven ways to fall asleep fast.
5. Take Up Dancing
Most seniors today came up listening to music, and dancing is a natural response to music. And it’s a great way to stay fit and enjoy yourself.
Dancing is definitely a good way to get in your cardio exercise to increase your heart rate, strength, and posture. It will also improve your muscle tone to aid in both coordination and balance.
There’s more than one way to skin a cat when it comes to dancing.
Of course, joining a dance class is an option, and an option that most people seem to talk about. If you have a partner to join with you it even makes a dance class better. (even though, you might find it fun to join as a single senior citizen)
However, not all of us are Intune with enrolling in a dance class. Here’s a great solution to dancing for your fitness and health: Dance by yourself in the privacy of your own home.
Who says you have to have a partner to enjoy the health and fitness benefits of dancing?
Instead of ball room dancing with a partner, try setting a time and scheduling a time to turn on the music and dance by yourself. There’s no body looking or judging, so you can move and sway to heart’s content while enjoying all the health benefits of dancing.
6. Get Regular Checkups
I’m amazed at the number of seniors who only see a physician when they’re sick?
Scheduling regular checkups keeps you up to date on what’s going on with your body. How often Should I Go to the Doctor is a good post to explore why regular checkups are so important.
As much as I like the idea of the rising number of nurse practioners, I doubt they are the best options for regular checkups? Find an internal medicine doctor within driving distance and see him/her no less than once a year.
Waiting until you have a health problem leaves you at high risk of things like high blood pressure, and diabetes. Setting up visits twice a year gives your doctor an opportunity to keep a running record of blood work results, and spot any problems early on.
Any health problems spotted early helps prevent long term complications and keep you healthy and fit.
7. Stretching Keeps You Fit
Waking up with sore muscles and stiff in the mornings. You can call it “getting old” if you want to, but you don’t have to.
As we age and join the ranks of seniors, muscles, tendons, and bones naturally shrink. One of the most important reasons for this, is lack of use.
We’ve already established the benefits of exercise and staying active, but sometimes seniors are afraid to risk even more stiffness from regular exercise.
I’ve learned that with or without regular exercise, simple stretching routines most days of the week eliminates what I thought was just getting old.
You will be surprised at how these stretching exercises will increase your range of motion, strength, and balance. You will feel better in general, and especially when getting up in the mornings.
Have you decided it’s time to get fit and healthy on purpose?
If you’re tired of feeling tired and sluggish, it’s probably because you’re not as fit as you once were, and you can change that.
Tired of not being able to wear the clothes you like the best? Get proactive about your health and fitness and change that.
Of course, you need to start with listening to your body, but I’m saying a senior body has learned how to tell lies. The more years go by, the easier it is to think it’s better to watch another movie than exercise.
Better to eat another pastry than think about nutrition. Not only does weighing too much adversely affect your health, it affects your knees and back.
Don’t just sit down and wait to get older. Make some changes in your life that combat health problems and get you fit. Start simple, and be sure to stretch every day.
Knowing how to combat health problems and stay fit puts you in charge of your own health and well being.