Exercising is one of the most important habits for maintaining our strength, stamina, and independence as we age. By moving our bodies consistently throughout our lives and into our senior years, we are giving ourselves the best chance at reducing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even some cancers. Unfortunately, with the slowing and aches of age, seniors can fall into a sedentary lifestyle that involves sitting or lying down for more than six hours a day. It’s understandable; sometimes bodies just hurt, and it’s difficult to find the motivation to exercise. But one of the best ways to improve how your body feels is to exercise.
The good news is that you do not have to join a gym, buy special equipment, or even leave your home to benefit from exercise. There are a multitude of things you can do from the comfort of your home (and even from your chair!) that will greatly increase your mobility when performed consistently. Talk with your medical provider about creating an exercise program that fits your current fitness level and health needs.
In the meantime, and to help you get started, here are some of The Woods at Merrimack’s favorite gentle exercises that are not too physically demanding on the joints and muscles, but will have a big impact on your health.
Water aerobics is a low-impact form of exercise that is specifically designed for those with achy joints. The water helps to relieve the pain and stiffness from conditions like arthritis while also providing resistance and encouraging your heart to get stronger. This type of exercise is typically hosted in groups, so reach out to your local gym to see if they offer a class that you could try.
If you are just getting back into regular exercise, then yoga might be the perfect place for you to start. There are many types of yoga, but the type we recommend for seniors involves gentle stretching and muscle building exercises that typically do not increase your heart rate too drastically. This is not a “cardio” activity, so if you are not a fan of sweating, this could be perfect for you! These low impact exercises are sure to strengthen your core and improve your balance.
This one might seem obvious, but walking is an excellent way to keep your body on the move. This is one of the most common exercises for seniors because it is so simple to do, requires little to no equipment, and can be done anywhere - even in your own home. Start by challenging yourself to walk for 10 minutes without stopping. When that feels easy, increase it to 20 minutes. You can even invite your friends or family to join you for walks through the neighborhood or take your pet out for an evening stroll.
If you are struggling with your balance, or if standing up for extended periods of time is difficult for you, there are plenty of exercises that you can do while sitting down. Here are a few of our favorites:
Exercising can help you stay active and healthy longer into your senior years. Regardless of where you are in your fitness journey, there is an exercise program that is perfect for you. The best way to get started is to speak with your medical provider about creating your perfect program. Then, head over to our gorgeous facility to implement your new workout routine!
To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of The Woods at Merrimack, contact our friendly team today.