Of course, there are some important considerations older adults need to make. Chronic conditions may affect physical activity, and it is important to know how. Other conditions may limit the time and intensity of your physical activity. Overall, it is important to be realistic about your initial level of fitness.
Balance is also key for older adults. Specifically, the CDC recommends “multicomponent physical activity that includes balance.” For example, walking is a multicomponent activity and walking backwards can incorporate balance. This is important because it decreases the risk of falls or injury from a fall.
Aerobic activities, commonly called cardio, includes things like walking or biking which work large muscles in a rhythmic manner for an extended time.
Dancing – Studies have shown dancing improves cardio performance, posture and balance. As a fun activity that encourages physical contact it also has many mental health benefits.
Water Aerobics – allow you to exercise for a sustained period of time without putting extra pressure on your joints. Again, it helps improve balance.
Golfing – this favourite pastime can also count towards your aerobic activity if you ditch the golf cart and walk from hole to hole.
Muscle Strengthening Exercises
At least twice a week, adults should do muscle strengthening activities that work the legs, hips, chest, back, abdomen, shoulders, and arms.
Bodyweight Exercise – things like abdominal crunches, wall push-ups and squats can be done in the comfort of your own home and all work vital muscles. You can find a routine that also includes balance training here.
Gardening – this activity is ideal for those who find it difficult to commit to an exercise routine. Bending down to tend to plants and carrying equipment works muscles throughout the body. The only downside is the inability to track your progress and maintain consistent intensity.
Aerobic/ Muscle Strengthening Exercises
Some activities move between aerobic and muscle strengthening. Learning about these exercises will allow you to blend the two activities together with a balanced focus between both.
Yoga – Yoga involves dynamic movements that help build flexibility and balance. It also ranges from meditative to strength training, depending on the style. Yoga can also be practiced by people of varying fitness levels. It also has stress reduction benefits as it helps to regulate breathing.
Tai-Chi – Usually Tai-Chi would be classified as a lower intensity activity, but often qualifies as moderate intensity for older adults. The CDC also mentions that research is being conducted on Tai-Chi’s effectiveness at improving balance and physical function.
Your body may need physical activity, but it certainly doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, finding a form of exercise that brings you joy will benefit you more, if only because you’re more eager to do it. But, be certain, the more you do it, the better you’ll feel.