As we age, our self-care plan should include exercise to make sure we keep our strength, mobility, and stamina. The main reason seniors lose muscle mass and motor skills like balance is simply because of inactivity.
Many people who begin exercising after living a sedentary life report a life-changing improvement in their mental and physical health. Seniors who exercise have abundant energy and live spirited lives.
Many chronic health conditions, as well as a depressed mood, can be improved with a fun and engaging fitness plan. You can transform your life starting right now!
As a personal fitness trainer working with seniors, I’d like to share my top priorities for designing an exercise plan that gets results.
Top 10 Goals of an Exercise Plan for Seniors
1. Build Muscle and Bone
Incorporate strength training to slow and even reverse the loss of muscle and bone as we age. Stronger muscles also mean better mobility and balance, and thus a lower risk of falling and injuring yourself.
2. Focus on Functional Movements for Daily Living
Emphasize movements that are used in daily living, like squatting, pushing, and pulling movements. Learn the proper technique for lifting heavy objects to prevent injuries.
3. Improve Balance and Motor Skills
Falling can result in serious injuries, so practice exercises that improve your balance skills. Work to sharpen your motor skills like hand-eye coordination and depth perception.
4. Elevate Mood
An effective fitness plan should build self-confidence, freedom, and independence. I especially like the way exercise improves energy and alleviates depression. Exercise should start simple and easy, then build progressively with more challenging movements that reward achievement.
5. Prevent Fat Gain
Our metabolism slows as we age. Exercise prevents the fat gain that may occur as a result. Exercise burns calories and builds lean muscle tissue. This is important for weight loss and weight maintenance.
6. Increase Mobility
Tightness can limit your movements and even make everyday life painful. Incorporate stretching exercises into your workouts. Yoga is also helpful.
7. Achieve Proper Posture
Be mindful of your posture while seated and standing. To help correct bad posture, it helps to strengthen the muscles around your spine, upper back, and neck.
8. Strengthen Heart Muscle
Regular cardiovascular exercise strengthens the most important muscle in the body: the heart. Good options include walking, swimming, biking, stair climbing, and water aerobics classes. Find an activity you enjoy that elevates your heart rate. Click here to see my guide to cardiovascular exercise.
9. Prevent Chronic Diseases
Exercise reduces body fat and provides other benefits which lowers your risk for illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.
10. Eat an Age-Appropriate Diet
We can’t eat like we’re still 16 years old. So, adjust to a slowing metabolism by eating smartly. A good eating plan includes appropriate serving sizes of lean protein, fibrous complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and water. Don’t forget to stay well hydrated!
NOTE: I recommend that you consult with your doctor before beginning this or any exercise plan. Prior to beginning any exercise program, including the activities described in this article, individuals should seek medical evaluation and clearance to engage in activity. Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone, and some programs may result in injury. Activities should be carried out at a pace that is comfortable for the user. Users should discontinue participation in any exercise activity that causes pain or discomfort. In such event, medical consultation should be immediately obtained.