Getting regular exercise is one of the keys to staying healthy, and cardiovascular fitness is especially important because it can help prevent heart disease. Regular aerobic exercise is vital for everyone, including seniors – the National Institute on Aging noted that regular exercise can improve balance, delay or prevent osteoporosis and diabetes and improve mental health. Most doctors recommend trying to get about 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week. Read on for exercise tips and examples of great aerobic routines for seniors:
Speak to your doctor and start slow
Before you get started breaking a sweat, meet with your health care professional and ask about starting a new exercise regimen. Your doctor may suggest that you start slowly, perhaps by doing a five-minute cardio workout each day. From there, you’ll be able to work your way up to 30-minute routines.
Make aerobic exercise fun
You’ll be more likely to stick with a new routine if you genuinely enjoy it. Thankfully, there are many ways to exercise that don’t involve going to the gym. For example, you could go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood or in a local park. During the hot summer months, you can even head to the local mall and take a few laps in the air conditioning. Now is also a great time to pick up activities you’ve enjoyed previously such as swimming or tennis. Swimming, for instance, is easier on your joints yet works out almost every muscle in your body and can really get your heart pumping! Tennis and other low-impact sports are fun to play with your friends, which will keep you more engaged with the activity.
Take a class
If you’d rather work out with a group and get assistance from a professional at the same time, consider taking a class a your local gym or community center. LiveStrong recommended finding a water aerobics class near you because it can have a strong physical impact. Avid cyclists might consider a spin class. Those who prefer one-on-one support might benefit from enlisting the help of a personal trainer at the gym. If you’re undecided, try out a few classes to see what you like – you might be surprised by how much fun exercising can actually be!
No matter what form of exercise you decide on, always remember to warm up and cool down. In a class, this will be part of the structure. On your own, you can jog a bit to warm up, walk to cool down and stretch to stay limber and avoid painful aches. Check in with your doctor to make sure you’re on track with your fitness goals and exercising safely.