The benefits of working out are many; reduced stress, a decrease in memory loss, an increase in euphoria and better sleep. Regular exercise for seniors can delay or prevent many age-related ailments, which may be attributed to a longer life. Exercise has also been linked as one of best weapons against developing Alzheimer's.
Regular exercise doesn't necessarily mean long workouts or trips to the gym. It's about adding more activities to your daily life that will keep you on your feet and off the couch!
Below are a few ideas:
• Water aerobics
• Wii exercise video games
• Group classes/events at local community centers
Wii exercise video games
The benefits of the Wii video game console, released by Nintendo, are that you don't have to leave you home, friends and family can participate and there are group game options making your workout more fun. Wii game options include, Wii Fit, Wii Sports and Wii Play. The Wii Fit includes exercises aimed at improving your balance, which is usually a goal for older adults to prevent falls. Bowling, golf and tennis can be found on Wii Sports. If you enjoy getting out of the house, find a local community center. Many are offering Wii league bowling these days.
Walking is a great way for older adults to stay physically fit, independent and increase agility. Walking is a low impact exercise that almost anyone can do and you don't need a gym, a treadmill or even a nice day to do it. A 35 minute walk around the block has proven to be beneficial.
If you're walking outside remember a few tips:
• Choose a route that you're familiar with
• Smooth, soft surfaces that are free of obstacles, such as debris, will put less strain on your joints and reduce the risk of falling
• Wear supportive footwear
• Walk with a friend and carry a cell phone in case of emergencies
If the weather isn't cooperating for a walk outside, head to the mall or, if you want to spice up your walking style, try the Wii video game "Walk it Out".
One of the best endurance exercises for older adults is water aerobics because it eliminates the risk of falling which could result in a joint injury. It is a light resistance workout that helps maintain strength, while also increasing stability, which can help to preserve balance, range of motion and mobility.
Golf is a good sport for older adults because it is a low impact sport, with little strenuous physical activity. The pace of the game is relatively stress free and can also include bouts of walking, which is good for the heart and blood circulation. If you can't make it to the course, try the Wii Sports golf video game at home. You're still keeping your body limber and your muscles loose by standing and swinging the game controller.
Senior-focused community centers are becoming more and more popular and most offer group classes such as gentle chair yoga, Wii Sports, line dancing, quilting, and Zumba. Group classes at local community centers are a great way to stay motivated and social.
If you're ready to commit to a regular exercise schedule be sure to keep a few things in mind.
• Talk to your doctor about starting an exercise program
• Consider your current health concerns
• Start slow
• Encourage others to participate with you
In addition to exercising, older adults should support a healthy lifestyle by getting the proper amount of sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and managing stress.
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