Senior exercise is one of the topics that many seniors – especially those over 65- would rather not talk about. Why? Exercise is hard to do, hard to get motivated about and we simply don’t have time.
There are also so many types of exercises – and one wonders where to begin. What is the best type of exercise for someone that is 65 years old? 75 years old? Is it better to get “cardio” exercise – you know the kind that gets your heart beating faster – like walking fast, running or biking?
Or is it better to get into “stretching” types of exercises – like yoga and pilates? There is also muscle building exercises – like doing push-ups, pull-ups and lifting weights. Which type is better? Or should I try to incorporate all 3 styles …. to stay healthy?
Here are the three different types of exercises:
- Muscle Building
Lets do a little exploring. There are many, many different styles of each type of exercise. You will discover certain exercise styles that you like and fit you better. As you get more into exercising, you will find that the time you spend is “quality time” and will provide so many positive benefits.
There’s an important thing to consider as we grow older. It is not necessarily losing strength that slows us down. And for many people it is not the lack of “cardio” training either. We manage…. being out of breath. We can still lift the bags of groceries out of the car.
But what does actually slow us down? And what keeps us from performing the many things we want to do? It is a lack of flexibility. We can’t bend over easily. Our neck hurts as does our hip and back. With decreased flexibility, we tend to fall more often.
Flexibility exercises (like those found in Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates) can offer significant improvements in the range of motion of your various joints (elbow, neck, wrist, shoulder, knee, hip, feet and ankles.) Better flexibility can improve circulation and everyday activities can become much easier and more fun.
A key ingredient for a successful stretching is to warm-up by doing simple stretches, and do them slowly. Try to keep your movements “smooth” and avoid jerking.
I personally find Pilates classes difficult for me (I am a 65 year old man.) The women in the class seem to be able to stretch so much more — and easier. But that actually throws out a challenge to me. Why can’t I get that flexible and balanced myself? I’m sure I can – as long as I go to the classes faithfully. I can also look on YouTube for Pilates classes – as well as Yoga and Tai Chi classes.
All 3 kinds of senior exercise – Cardio, Muscle Building, and Flexibility — are important as we grow older each year. Maybe we don’t have time or motivation to do all three. But how about starting with Flexibility and see where that leads you? I guarantee that when you follow a flexibility program for a couple of months you won’t hardly know yourself – you’ll feel so much more alive and you’ll be smiling more.
If you have anything to share — or want to tell your story, please add a “comment” below.