By Rebecca Fending
Anyone over the age of 50 knows how are it is to find a way to exercise without risking their physical health. For many seniors, the best bet is to find a low-impact sport or exercise that will motivate you to stay healthy and fit. From swimming to light walking, find the right exercise for your body from these three no-gym-needed activities:
Stretch Yourself (But Not Beyond Your Limits)
Believe it or not, stretching is a great way to keep yourself in shape. Not only is it a great way to stay in motion, but stretching holds many benefits for those of us over 50. The act of stretching helps get you up and moving, as well as awakens your muscles and tendons. Although it isn’t typically thought of as a form of exercise, stretching for seniors can do wonders in terms of setting aside a sedentary lifestyle and encouraging healthy circulation.
Stretching also acts as a breathing exercise. The recommended length of time for stretching is about 60 seconds. During this time, you should breathe in slowly through your nose, hold it for about three seconds, then slowly exhale through your mouth. This breathing technique helps regulate your bodily function and nervous system.
Just Keep Swimming… For Exercise
Swimming is another fantastic exercise for anyone, and especially seniors. Suspending your body in water essentially makes it weightless in terms of bodily pressure, relieving your joints and bones of their daily stress. This makes it a great exercise even for those in wheelchairs, as the stress on your body is incredibly low. Plus, most pools are required to have a wheelchair lift for easy access. Swimming also combines both stretching and exercise, making it the best of both worlds in terms of low-impact activity.
Water-centered activities can also be fun in terms of learning new techniques and even including some games in the water. By changing up how you exercise in the water, you can work different muscle groups as you have fun. Although getting your body moving is what matters most, the best way to swim is by doing so for an extended period of time to get your heartrate up and giving your larger muscle groups a workout.
Be A Walk Star
Possibly the simplest form of exercise: walking. You do it every day, whether it’s to your kitchen for your walking coffee or in your local grocery store. Walking can be a great form of exercising because it’s a much lower impact activity than running or biking. While it exercises your muscles and helps get your circulation flowing, walking doesn’t add unnecessary stress to any part of your body. You can also incorporate your favorite hobbies along the way such as bird watching, or ask friends to join!
Walking is also great because it’s essentially free. Whether you walk around your neighborhood after dinner or powerwalk in your local mall before opening, walking is an accessible and simple way to get yourself moving on the daily. If you’d like to be safe and guard yourself again injury or soreness, purchase yourself a decent pair of shoe inserts to help cushion your feet and joints as you trot. Be sure to take breaks as you walk if you need, pushing your body beyond its limits can do more damage than good.
Whatever way you choose to exercise, be sure to stay hydrated and don’t be ashamed to limit your activity. Exercise shouldn’t be a competition for those over 50, but rather a way to enhance your overall health. So be sure to take care of your body while partaking in your favorite physical activity.