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The Six Best Exercises for Active Seniors

Date : Mar 22,2014
By : Emma Sturgis

Growing older certainly doesn’t mean slowing down. In fact, remaining active throughout one’s lifetime poses numerous benefits. Adults who engage in physical activity are better able to manage symptoms of illness or pain, boost immune function, and improve both memory and mood. Take a look at these great exercises for seniors and keep up the good work.

Hiking

Like other forms of aerobic exercise, hiking uses large muscle groups for extended periods of time, building muscular endurance and improving fitness of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Hiking is also known to lower the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, and various cancers, including colon and breast cancer. As an additional benefit, hiking burns nearly 400 calories per hour. Even better, hiking is a great way to socialize with family and friends, surround yourself with nature, and explore new places in your area.

Yoga

Yoga is most commonly associated with flexibility, which helps the body stay limber and joints maintain their full range of motion so that you can perform all of your day to day activities and chores with ease. This form of exercise also promotes mind-body awareness, energy, and improved respiration. Those who practice yoga regularly find that they sleep better, have a more positive outlook, and can better cope with chronic pain such as arthritis and lower back issues.

Resistance Bands

Building strength and muscle mass doesn’t necessarily mean lifting heavy weights. Resistance bands not only do all that, they also prevent the loss of bone mass and improve balance. What’s more, resistance bands are super lightweight, portable, and can be used while sitting, standing, and even lying down. You can modify your favorite free-weight exercises using a resistance band or check out online resources for resistance band exercises that work everything from shoulders to calves.

Swimming

Swimming is known as the ultimate full-body workout, and rightfully so. This exercise involves every muscle group in the body, including those hard-to-work abdominal muscles. Not only will swimming recover muscle tone, it also has quite the effect on the most important muscle of all: your heart. Swimming just 15-45 minutes a day 3-4 times a week reduces systolic blood pressure, increases elasticity of the arteries, and improves overall cardiovascular health. Even better, swimming is a low impact exercise that can be enjoyed by those who suffer from joint pain or limitations in flexibility. Chair bound exercise enthusiasts can also get in on the fun and fitness benefits of swimming.

Pilates

Pilates is the perfect combination of gentle and powerful. A low impact exercise, most moves are performed in reclined or seated positions making it extremely safe and super accessible to people of all levels. However, all Pilates exercises can be modified to challenge even the most seasoned practitioners. This exercise elongates, strengthens, and creates flexibility in muscles so that they become less susceptible to injury. With a focus on the muscles of the core, the abdominal muscles and back, Pilates promotes balance and good posture necessary for everyday activities.

Dancing

Simply put, dancing is fun! It’s a marvelous way to socialize and make new friends but also does great things for the mind and body. Remembering and executing the steps to your favorite dance can reverse volume loss in the hippocampus, which means better preservation of memory. Tearing up the dance floor helps us lose weight, diminish stress and depression, and improve heart health, especially for those at risk of cardiovascular disease.

Carving out time to exercise ultimately improves overall quality of life, making each day even more special and joyous. Be sure to always consult your physician before starting these or any other new fitness regimen.

Informational Credit to LakePoint Nursing

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