How to Stay Fit as You Age
By: Bev Kornides, PT, MBA
Staying active helps you to remain independent, prevents health problems, and increases your metabolism. Regular exercising at least 3 times by week, improves your strength and balance, gives you more energy, boosts your mood, and improves your brain function.
Most older adults need about 2.5 hours of exercise every week. This can include biking, walking, dancing, tennis, yoga, or attending fitness classes. Seniors that exercise regularly are less likely to depend on others. If self-reliance is a priority, then regular exercise is one of the best ways to maintain independence for older adults.
- Stay flexible- stretching and yoga help to maintain your range of motion to be able to reach into closets, cabinets, bend over to pick up objects and generally improve back posture and reduce stiffness.
- Balance- Falls are a big deal... every 11 seconds an older adult is admitted to the emergency room and every 19 minutes a senior will die due to a fall. Regular exercise can reduce falls by 25%. Yoga, Tai chi, standing on one-foot exercises, and tandem walking (heel to toe in a straight line) can challenge and improve one's walking ability. In addition, these activites can help maintain healthy feet.
- Strength training- After age 40 we lose 10% of our general strength every decade of life. Strengthening through resistance bands, light weights, or body weight exercises such as pushups and planks will increase general strength, lessening muscle mass loss.
- Endurance- Endurance is the ability to exert and remain active for longer periods of time and to withstand and recover from an injury, illness, or fatigue. Improved endurance helps one to perform repetitive tasks we do every day. Swimming or water aerobics can be easy on the body's joints. Regularly walking and trying to achieve 10,000 steps a day builds your endurance as well. Find ways to increase your movements or achieve more flexibility.
Finally, many heath insurance programs such as Medicare offer a "Silver Sneakers" plan for seniors at age 65 plus. This program offers free online or in person health and fitness classes for this age group. Check your benefits to see if you are eligible today to take advantage.
Get moving...stay moving...contact us at CAO if you have any orthopedic issues that keeps you from Staying fit at any age. We offer convenient locations across Maryland, Virginia and DC. Don’t let a pain or injury stop you from doing the activities you love.