Seniors Fitness

Moderate exercise and stretching can help you stay active longer without inuring yourself.  The following videos are designed to help you get started.

Stronger Seniors Balance Exercises

Stronger Seniors Strength – Senior Exercise Aerobic Video, Elderly Exercise, Chair Exercise

Stronger Seniors Core Fitness – The 100-Chair Exercise Abdominals Workout for Seniors

You can buy the complete videos from the Stronger Seniors website.

Overcoming Barriers to Exercise

Seniors can face any number of personal, socioeconomic, and environmental barriers to exercise. Some barriers are common to everyone, and others are unique to the elderly.

 

Photo:  Scott Stoner, Jackson Citizen Patriot

 

Common Barriers to Exercise in Older Adults

Self-confidence

Begin slowly with exercises that are easy and advance gradually.  Your confidence will grow as you get stronger and both your brain and body get used to the new activity.  Encouragement from others will helps as well.

Attitude

Keep a good attitude by doing activities that are fun.  This might mean exercising with other people in activities such as walking, cycling or playing tennis.  Consider joining an exercise group or class.

Lack of Support

Ask for encouragement from friends and family.  Find other people who are active, perhaps at your senior’s centre or church, and who are interested in exercising with you.  Consider joining a walking or cycling group.

Discomfort

Lessen the intensity and range of your exercise.  Engage in a variety of activities so you are not creating repetitive strain injuries.  Start slowly and avoid overdoing.

Disability

If you have an injury or a disability see a doctor, physical therapist or a personal trainer who can help you find specialized exercises.

Poor Balance

There are many simple exercises that will help you improve your balance.  The video Stronger Seniors Balance Exercises has a number of suggestions for improving your balance.  Assistive devices such as a walker or a cane can increase your balance and therefore your safety so you can exercise more often and possibly more intensely.

Fear of Injury

Remember to warm up and cool down before and after you exercise.  And if you work on improving your balance and strength, you will be less likely to suffer an injury.  Cross-training, or using a combination of activities that are both weight- and non-weight bearing, will reduce your risk of injury.  A physical therapist or a personal trainer will help you move in a way that is safe if you need more guidance.

Habit

Incorporate exercise into your daily routine.  This might mean taking the stairs or walking to the store, or it might mean walking regularly with friends or family.  Try keeping a low step box in your kitchen and perform a series of step-ups several times a day.  If you keep it simple and easy, exercise is more likely to become a habit.

Fixed Income

Walking, dancing, playing with children and other simple exercises don’t cost anything and are very effective for staying active.

Environmental factors (e.g., poor weather)

Walk in the mall or use facilities at your senior’s center.

Cognitive Decline

Incorporate exercise into your daily routine and keep exercises simple and repetitive.

Illness/fatigue

Use a range of exercises and intensities that match your varying energy level.  Start slow and small.  Plan to exercise at times of the day when you have the most energy.  Remember that the more you exercise, the more energy you will have.

Examples of an active lifestyle include using a golf pull cart while golfing, using a push mower, participating in activities such as stand and cast fishing or gardening, and taking the stairs.

Sources:  The American Academy of Family Physicians and Promoting Physical Activity: A Guide for Community Action (USDHHS, 1999), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA)