Finding the Best Exercise Program for Older Adults in the Winter Months
We all know that our bodies change as we age. From muscle mass and bone density to flexibility and nutritional needs, our bodies change over time. Aging is a normal process. And it’s an opportunity to care for ourselves more intentionally. One great way to meet our daily needs—both physically and emotionally—is to find a workable approach to exercise. As we head into the winter months, we’ll consider exercise options for older adults that help meet these changing needs.
The Importance of Regular Exercise
While regular exercise is beneficial for people at every age, it takes on an extra measure of importance for those over 65. Continued physical activity allows older adults to continue performing necessary daily tasks and allows for more independent living. Aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility work also protect seniors from age-related injuries such as falls and broken bones. For some, the loss of strength over time is a direct result of simply not moving as much as they used to.
The good news is that even a moderate amount of physical activity can bring about significant benefits for adults over age 65. In addition to aiding the performance of important daily tasks like bathing, cooking, dressing, and moving around the community, exercise improves mood and energy level, slows bone loss, boosts immunity, improves muscle mass, and reduces the risk of dying from heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. In short, moderate physical activity improves quality of life and independence for seniors.
Finding Exercises That Work for You
It’s important to find exercises that best suit you. As we head into the winter months, inclement weather that brings frigid temperatures and slippery ice becomes a concern. Heading indoors on bad weather days might be your best bet. In addition, it’s also important to find exercises that suit your current health and stage of life. If you haven’t been physically active in a while or are considering changing your routine—like pursuing greater exertion through weight training or higher aerobic activity—talk with your doctor about the best plan for you.
Most importantly, find exercise that you enjoy. You’re much more likely to get moving if you’re having a good time. It’s important for adults to incorporate a combination of exercises to get the greatest benefits. Strength training, aerobic activity, and flexibility and balance work contribute to lasting overall health. Also be aware of some exercises that are better to avoid when you’re over 65.
Aerobics, Weight Training, and Flexibility
Great aerobic activities for seniors include walking, yard work, dancing, water aerobics, or riding a stationary bike. Seniors can safely build muscle through low-impact body weight training or using light hand weights and resistance bands. Good flexibility and balance exercises include yoga or chair yoga and pilates. Finding a seniors exercise class either online or in your area can be a great way to work healthy movement and interactions into your routine. Many of the links in this post include great ideas for exercises to do at home or in your community, especially in the winter months while Covid is a concern.
As always, consult your doctor before beginning a new fitness program, and choose one that is both beneficial and safe. Eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water will also boost health and an overall sense of well-being. With a bit of intention, making regular exercise a part of your life will benefit your strength, mood, and ability to perform important daily activities over time. And last but not least, have fun!
The Cedars Retirement Community The Cedars Retirement Community is a beautiful lakeside retirement residence located just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Cedars believes in providing the highest quality of life and opportunity for seniors. We continue to operate with great care during this pandemic and are following all guidelines issued by the CDC and ISDH. Please contact us with any questions you may have.