Our bodies change as we grow older. They become more vulnerable to certain diseases, bones and muscles tend to lose their strength, and systems start to deteriorate. While it is impossible to reverse the aging process completely, there are plenty of ways to slow it down and maintain good health in your later years.
The key to aging gracefully is to live an active lifestyle. Research shows that elderly individuals who remain active are better prepared to fight off disease and decay while retaining independence.
Since the body’s ability to undergo stress has changed with age, exercising should look different as the years go on. The punishment it could endure when you were younger would overwhelm it now. Some activities, however, are perfect for maintaining good health and can still be effective in old age.
Yoga is a great activity for everyone, but particularly for elderly individuals. Mobility becomes a big focus in life, something that we take for granted when we are younger. Yoga can help you retain strength in your muscles and flexibility, which will help prolong your ability to live an active lifestyle. The combination of deep stretching and strengthening exercises that Yoga employs offers many health benefits, and there are varying degrees of difficulty that you can engage in depending on your skill level and fitness. In other words, whether you are a professional athlete or just looking to be more in shape, Yoga is a great solution for all ages.
This piece of equipment increases accessibility for different forms of strength-building. There are many variations that allow you to work different muscles in your arms, legs, chest, shoulders, core, and more. You can stand on the band and do bicep curls, or pull outwards to build shoulder muscles. You can even use them to help you stretch more effectively, especially if your flexibility isn’t what it used to be. Some exercises can be done while sitting. Resistance bands also give you options for the level of resistance simply by using more or less of the band for your exercises. Shortening it will lead to higher resistance and a more intense workout while using more of the band makes it a little easier. The workout you do can be customized to whatever level you are capable of, and there is more freedom of choice than with classic weights like dumbbells.
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Another activity that is less stressful on the body, water aerobics is a popular form of exercise, especially in older populations. There are plenty of pros to engaging in this activity, including its low-impact nature and the strength-building that it produces. It often includes a social aspect, as most water aerobics are taught in classes, and the lack of gravity effects makes it perfect for someone with joint or muscle pain.
The ideal activity combines a healthy form of exercise with an enjoyable social aspect. Dancing is great as a cardiovascular workout but also improves balance and muscle strength. You can take part in dance classes at local studios or even at some gyms. It can also do wonders for your mental health as it makes your mind focus and creates a feeling of accomplishment when you have done the steps correctly. This type of exercise will play a huge role in maintaining independence as you age and avoiding the need to move into a nursing home that can hold concerns for many residents.
Since your body should not undergo the stresses of younger individuals, it is important to push your body without risking injury or severe joint pain. Some cardio workouts that would work are light jogging, brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. Going for long, difficult runs could do more harm than good for your aging body. You mustn’t push yourself too hard in the name of achieving better fitness, so it would be wise to talk with your doctor about an appropriate amount of exercise to do for your age. Cardio is good for your heart, muscles, bones, and blood flow, all things that, when healthier, will increase your chances of a longer and happier life.
Although exercise is a positive for the here and now, it becomes especially significant the older you get. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to premature breakdown of muscles, bones, and the various systems in your body. Setting aside time now to focus on fitness will create habits that you can maintain for years to come. Just be aware that the types of exercises you can do will change with time, and it is important to be cognizant of how much your body can handle going forward.