May 25 is National Senior Health and Fitness Day! Today, over 100,000 seniors will participate in over 1,000 events all over America. The common goal of all of these events is to keep older adults healthy and fit. Whether or not there is an event in your area, there are still some things you can do to try and stay healthy.
What we are focusing on today is exercise. There are four types of exercise that doctors recommend.
- Endurance- Some of these include walking, running, dancing, and yard work.
- Flexibility- These activities include yoga and stretching.
- Balance- Standing on one foot, heel-to-toe walking, and Tai Chi fall into this category.
- Strength- Things like lifting weights, body weight exercises, and resistance band therapy fall under strength exercises.
Another activity that falls into multiple categories is swimming. Not only is it a full body work out, it has shown to have health benefits for many medical conditions. Researchers believe that swimming lowers your risk of falling by building strong core muscles and coordinating movement between the upper and lower extremities. The muscles used during swimming promote good balance control as well. Another condition that is lessened with swimming is arthritis. The buoyancy of the water supports the body’s weight. This, in turn, reduces stress on the joints and reduces pain. Other benefits include improved cardiovascular health and increased range of motion.
Are you getting enough exercise? The CDC recommends that adults aged 65 and older get in an average of 2.5 endurance style exercise or 1.25 hours of intense aerobic activity a week. They also recommend two or more days of strength training per week, focusing on all of the different core groups of muscles. For more options on physical activity from the CDC, you can visit their in the older adults section of the physical activity section on their website here.
It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before you start any new exercise regime, especially if you have certain health conditions or have been inactive for a long period of time. Some of the questions you can ask your doctor are:
- Do I need to avoid any specific types of exercise?
- Do any of my health conditions affect the ability to exercise?
- What are the best types of exercise that I can do if I have certain conditions?
For more information on events for this day, you can visit the website of National Senior Health & Fitness Day. If you need help finding more specific exercises that are safe for you to do, visit The National Institute for Aging over at their site Go4Life.