A Guide to Staying Active After 60
The senior years shouldn’t be sedentary! Older adults who spend five or more hours a day sitting and don’t get enough exercise are three times more likely to lose the ability to walk than seniors who live an active lifestyle, according to Reuters. Not only that, but inactive seniors have an increased risk of developing heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and depression.
If that’s not how you want to spend your golden years, making exercise part of your lifestyle is a must. But when your body doesn’t work like it used to, how are you supposed to stay active?
Managing Pain so you can Exercise Comfortably
Did you know that exercise is one of the best ways to manage chronic pain? It’s true according to Practical Pain Management, but most people find it hard to get moving when they’re already plagued by pain.
If you need pain relief in order to exercise comfortably, look for options that won’t impair you. That means no opioid pain relievers before exercise, but over-the-counter pain relievers may be a good option if they don’t cause issues with other medication you take. Lots of people also find success managing pain with CBD oil, creams, and supplements. While it’s derived from cannabis, CBD doesn’t affect your state of mind like its well-known cousin THC. It does, however, reduce the pain and inflammation that’s ailing you.
And remember, while exercising through chronic pain is fine, you should never try to push through acute pain unless your doctor gives the go-ahead. Exercising despite sharp pain increases your risk of injury.
Low-Impact Exercise Options
Working out doesn’t have to hurt your joints. Low-impact exercise is just as effective at raising your heart rate, building strength, and increasing your balance and flexibility as high-impact exercise.
These low-impact exercises are great for older adults:
Pilates is an ideal way for seniors to build functional fitness. Pilates strengthens the core and develops flexibility, all without aggravating your arthritis.
When you want to get your heart rate up and build whole-body fitness, swimming is the way to go. Plus, swimming is wonderfully relaxing!
3- Stationary cycling
Stationary cycling is easy on the joints and the perfect workout when you really want to watch TV but know you should get some exercise in.
4- Tai chi
Tai chi doesn’t look like exercise when you see it, but this meditative workout is quite challenging! Tai chi boosts balance and flexibility and eases stiffness so you enjoy a wider range of motion.
Aim to include a couple different types of exercise in your fitness regimen. Not only does variety keep things interesting, it also helps you hit all five elements of fitness and avoid overuse injuries.
Active Routines for Daily Life
Hitting the gym isn’t the only way to incorporate physical activity into your life. Seniors can get a lot of exercise through their daily routines when they choose the active option instead of the easy option.
What does that look like exactly? Here are some ways you can add more movement to everyday tasks:
1- Doing your own housework and yard work.
2- Shopping for groceries instead of ordering curbside pick-up.
3- Walking the dog.
4- Riding a bike or walking to complete errands close to home.
5- Working in the garden.
6- Walking to a neighbor’s house instead of calling to chat.
7- Picking up an active hobby.
Exercise only gets harder as you get older, but the best way to remain active and independent into your senior years is to never stop moving! If you can avoid a sedentary lifestyle and make physical fitness part of your routines, your life will stay vibrant and exciting no matter your age.
About the Author: Jason Lewis, personal trainer specializing in helping the senior population