Written by MindMate Staff
There really is no better time to get fit than in your later years! Far from being past your physical peak, you’re at the stage of life where the benefits of regular exercise are most valuable to you. As your body begins to show signs of ageing, keeping fit can help you fight off disease, stay mobile and ultimately lengthen your life!
Here’s 10 of the best exercises for older adults:
Swimming has been called the healthiest sport in the world, and justifiably so! Not only does it provide an aerobic workout that targets your cardiovascular system, but it also trains your muscles and improves strength. Swimming is ideal for older people as it is a non-impact sport that doesn’t put stress on your joints and can be practiced even by those with lower mobility. Swimming is truly a sport for everyone!
Walking is the ideal regular workout, it doesn’t require any equipment and it will get you outside in the fresh air. It’s great for improving circulation, building bone strength and combating joint and knee pain. But perhaps the best benefit of hiking is that it’s free, easy and anyone and everyone can do it!
As you get older, you don’t just need strength and endurance from your workout, it's also important to increase flexibility. Practicing yoga offers the best possible way to to improve your agility which will be key to maintaining your mobility as you age. Yoga’s range of movements not only stretch your body, they also help to relax your brain, reduce stress and improve your mental health. Exercise isn’t only about your body, remember!
Regular exercise can be tough on the body, especially those of older people, but Pilates has become an incredibly popular workout for seniors due to its minimal weight-bearing moves. This means Pilates puts far less stress on the joints than other forms of fitness. Pilates centres on control and stability of movement, working to enhance balance, flexibility and strength. Those who practice pilates regularly are likely to be far less susceptible to injury or falls than those who do not.
5. Weight Training
You might think strength training is only for bodybuilders and elite athletes, but it’s actually a vital aspect of any healthy ageing routine that is often overlooked. For many of us, the thought of lifting weights can seem intimidating, especially as we age, but it really can be a safe and effective way for older adults to build strength. Muscles are, in fact, crucial to ageing well as they allow us to maintain mobility, they prevent falls, and help us stay active for longer. Regularly picking up weights can also help reduce symptoms of conditions like osteoarthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, back pain, and depression.
Tai-Chi is a low-impact exercise that’s suited well to those of us in midlife or beyond, and its advantage over other exercises like swimming is that it is far less time-consuming. You can get great results by investing as little as 20 minutes a day! Tai-Chi, as an ancient martial artform, is a fusion of meditation with physical balance and co-ordination. The key benefits of regular practice are a stronger core, and a healthier, stress-free brain!
Cycling is another low-impact option for both moderate exercise and a more intense workout that’s perfectly tailored to ageing bodies. Its great for building stamina by improving your cardiovascular system, building strength & muscle and burning fat. Getting on your bike targets both your core and your legs, making it one of the best exercises possible for improving your mobility.
Not to mention, your bike can double up as both an exercise option and a way to get from A to B, why not do both at the same time!
Put on your dancing shoes, because boogieing is actually one the best ways to stay fit as you get older! Recent studies have shown that dancing not only provides a physical workout, but stimulates your brain too. In fact, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the split-second decision-making, concentration and memory required by regular dancing could significantly reduce your risk of cognitive decline, protecting your brain against conditions like Dementia and Alzheimers!
The physical benefits are also important, and dancing provides a full body workout for your muscles as well as an aerobic workout to train your cardiovascular system, making it a fun and unique option for your fitness program.
Running is often thought of as a younger people’s exercise, but the reality is that that body is equipped for and capable of running well into your later years. That said, it’s always best to seek the advice of your doctor and see which form of running is best for you. Perhaps you are better suited to jogging, or longer distance runs, or maybe short bursts are right for your body. However you run, you’re set for a variety of health benefits including: A healthy metabolism, strong bones, muscle maintenance and good heart-function.
Yes, you read that right, gardening is a form of exercise! Not only is it a therapeutic and productive activity, it’s also considered a moderate to intensive workout. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can burn up to 330 calories with just some light gardening in your yard! Being outside in nature also has a variety of positive effects on both your physical and mental health.