4 Exercise and Wellness Building Blocks for Baby Boomers……..to help you keep booming!
For some reason, many older people just don’t realize how important it is for seniors to stay fit and active.
The old adage of “use it or lose it” becomes more and more relevant as we age.
These days, one of my favourite sayings is, “if you want to keep moving then you have to keep moving.”
Maintaining good health, flexibility, and strength as a senior helps prevent up to 80% of our major health threats and illnesses, promotes independence plus gives us a feeling of greater well-being.
This is an extremely important point for an aging population to understand and come to grips with.
Who in our age group wouldn’t prefer to stay independent rather than being cloistered off in a nursing home or assisted living facility?
The foundations (and benefits) of fitness for older people are quite simple and well known. It’s a fact that our bodies, minds too, react to positive challenges (i.e. exercise) by getting stronger regardless of age.
Here is some startling proof that it is never too late to start your Active Ageing program.
I am sure you will be inspired, like I was, by 81-year-old grandmother, Erika Rischko, who has become a global fitness influencer on TikTok and Instagram with her videos and exercise routines.
Take a look here – some of the moves she pulls are quite amazing.
It is best if you’ve been building these fitness foundations all of your life; however, it’s never too late to start.
No matter when you begin improving your health, you are guaranteed to reap some positive benefits.
The key to building successful fitness routines for seniors is to select enjoyable activities.
When you enjoy the activity you are doing, you’re more likely to continue doing it. And that is the important bit………you have to keep doing it if you want the dramatic results that are so achievable.
It is also important to take up a variety of different types of exercise and to select those styles of exercise that can be done at various levels of energy, strength, ability and endurance. In this way, you can always adjust your workout to suit your energy level, mood and circumstance.
Here are the main building blocks you will need to make up the foundations of senior health, fitness, and wellness.
1. Stay flexible!
If you want to continue enjoying your life keeping up with your grand-kids and doing the things you need to do to meet your own daily needs, you must stay flexible and maintain a full range of motion.
It’s important to be able to reach high, touch your toes, and otherwise move as you need to do things like getting dressed or retrieve items from high shelves.
Some good exercise choices for flexibility include simple stretching, Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi. All of these will help you stay flexible while building lean muscle.
2. Stay strong!
Good muscle strength means good bone strength. You don’t have to build huge muscles, but it is important to maintain a level of strength that will allow you to open stubborn jars, carry your own groceries and perform other common activities of daily living.
The types of exercise mentioned above will help you build some lean muscle strength. You can add resistance to any of these exercises with light hand weights or resistance bands. You can also use light free weights or exercise machines at your local gym.
Another reason for staying strong as you age is because as we age we all suffer from sarcopenia symptoms which in a nutshell, is the loss of muscle mass and in the long term it causes loss of independence………but you can do something about it.
I highly recommend you also read this article…….it will give you a thorough understanding of why staying strong as we age is critical for your longevity: Why Strength Training is SO Important as You Start Aging.
3. Stay balanced!
Having good balance will help you prevent injuries such as broken hips and other limbs.
This is extremely important because a broken bone can impair your independence in a matter of moments. Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi are all very good for helping maintain good balance.
Dancing is also an excellent way to build and maintain a good sense of balance. Research has found that dancing improves strength and muscle function in older adults, as well as increasing balance and flexibility, leading to better stability and fewer injuries. And the big bonus if dancing – it is a great social outing providing lots of fun.
You don’t want to tire out easily. For this reason, it’s important to build up your endurance with cardiovascular exercises. Dancing is a good example.
So are walking briskly, cardio classes, exercise bike, rowing machines, stair climbing, swimming, and hiking.
Anything you can do that helps your heart beat faster will help you build your endurance. This will mean much less fatigue and much more energy for enjoying every moment of your life……..plus you will be able to keep up with the grand-kids.
These fitness building blocks can help anyone build an excellent foundation for lifelong fitness. You can share your activities with your grandchildren and set an excellent example that will help them enjoy a lifetime of health and strength.
You can also enjoy your life more by taking part in classes designed specifically for seniors such as water aerobics, walking groups, yoga, Tai Chi, square dancing, ballroom dancing, and more.
Check your local senior centre or other council community activities centre.
Remember, it’s so important to be active no matter how old or young you are and no matter what your circumstances.
Anyone who is able-bodied can participate in so many different types of exercise.
Just get out of your chair, choose something you enjoy, and go for it.
People who use wheelchairs or other assistive devices for mobility can enjoy adapted exercise. Strange as it may seem but even visualizing exercise has positive benefits on your body, but don’t use that as an excuse not to actually exercise!
Another excellent side benefit of participating in regular exercise is that it also encourages increased blood circulation, socializing and mental activity.
A combination of these activities will help you stay fit, happy, strong, and mentally alert for life.
Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
P.S. Help a friend to better health and fitness……..like and share. Thanks
P.P.S. Here is a great article to read if you Are Struggling to Start an Exercise Plan.