Guest Post Author: Chris Harper | The Arbor Company
The average person gainsabout a pound every holiday season. It takes an average of five months to lose this holiday weight. And if you never lose the weight, that small-sounding pound can grow into a serious health problem as holidays and years go by.
The holidays are full of temptations. Give in to every temptation, and you may harm your long-term health. The good news is that preventing weight gain during the holiday season doesn’t have to mean a holiday filled with deprivation. In fact, cutting calories doesn’t work. Seniors concerned about the holiday battle of the bulge should instead embrace moderation. Eat a single piece of cake and you’ll be less likely to binge on 15 cookies later.
The right exercise can help you stay fit while burning off the extra calories of the holiday season. Exercise alsohelps prevent cardiovascular disease, improves your mood, lowers the risk of diabetes, and can even prevent falls. So get moving! Here are four great exercises for seniors.
#1 Weight-Bearing Exercise
Endless bicep curls in the gym might seem like the domain of the young and veiny. But weight-bearing exercises can prevent osteoporosis, promote mobility, reduce the risk of falls, and even help with back pain. There’s no rule that says seniors can’t lift weights or use weight machines. In fact, some seniors find the hustle and bustle of the local gym motivating. For seniors with low mobility or those who haven’t exercised in a while, however, weight-bearing exercises are safer. These exercises use the weight of your body rather than a weight.
Push-ups, squats, and lunges are ideal choices, and all of these exercises can be modified according to your needs. For example, seniors who can’t do a traditional push-up can do a push-up on their knees or try a wall push-up.
Yoga gently stretches the muscles while encouraging seniors to focus on their breathing. This can help with pain and mobility issues. Many yoga poses are also weight-bearing exercises that promote bone and muscle health. Try a yoga class for seniors or explore a few senior-friendly yoga poses, such as mountain and tree, at home.
#3 Water Aerobics
Aerobic exercise gets your heart pounding, improving cardiovascular health and helping you burn calories. Yet for seniors with joint health issues, mobility impairments, or poor physical fitness, exercises such as running or bicycling can be dangerous.
Water aerobics classes offer an intense workout without the risk of a fall or joint pain. Many community centers offer senior-centric water aerobics for people of all fitness levels. Not interested in water aerobics? Try simply going for a swim instead.
Walking is already part of most seniors’ daily itinerary. So why not have some fun and burn some calories? Go for a walk around the block with a friend, or head to the local nature preserve to walk around the lake. Walking is safe for most seniors, burns calories, and can increase mobility.
Seniors who use wheelchairs to get around can still enjoy many of the benefits of walking. Instead of walking around the block, try wheeling instead. You’ll get a great upper body workout and get to bask in outdoor splendor.
Many seniors find that living near others helps keep them motivated to stay fit. Friends and neighbors are great walking companions. For seniors who feel isolated or struggle to stay active, a senior living community offers lots of support, regular exercise, and even classes on exercise options such as yoga. Seniors hoping to remain healthy well into their next decade or two should consider these vibrant, welcoming communities.
About the Author:
For the past 5 years, Chris Harper has been the Vice President of Communications at The Arbor Company. His dedication to fulfilling Arbor’s mission of providing unparalleled care to seniors has made him a passionate advocate for senior health, memory care, and aging with dignity.