No Pain. No Gain – that rule does not apply to everyone and is certainly not the rule for an effective senior health and fitness program! For seniors who already have pain that they are trying to alleviate, the idea of adding even more pain and discomfort through strength training makes exercise seem totally unreasonable. Seniors can incorporate fitness, not extreme exercise, into their daily regimen very easily!
Below is a list of our top fitness ideas to get you moving towards a healthier lifestyle!
- Swim – This is an activity in which EVERYONE can benefit, but seniors especially. Being in the water relieves muscle tension, pain and swelling from arthritis, and allows the body to perform resistance exercise with little tension on joints. It is still possible to overexert yourself and feel sore the next day, but the water makes the chances of a successful and painless workout much more possible. Some hospitals have even built pools or co-opted with gyms for pool use because swimming is such a beneficial way for seniors and those undertaking physical therapy to regain strength and endurance.
- Participate in an Exercise Class Taught by a Certified Instructor – Senior fitness classes, like Silver Sneakers, are now becoming very popular. Silver Sneakers offer classes made specifically for seniors at various levels of fitness and ability. Many instructors will also offer modifications for exercises throughout the class. If the modification information is not readily available, ask the instructor or fitness manager for it before taking the class. As long as your doctor has given approval of participating in the class, the instructor should be able to offer ways to keep pressure off the knees and wrists, recommend alternate exercises for those of you using walkers, wheelchairs or those who are recovering from injuries.
- Work with a Certified Personal Trainer or Instructor – Trainers can be a great resource to create a customized plan for seniors. They can recommend the proper weight for strength training, demonstrate how to use the machines and cables properly and how to effectively stretch pre and post workout. Trainers also help create motivation and offer a sense of accountability!
- Yoga – The benefits derived from different types of yoga (Hatha, Vinyasa, Bikram, Yin, Restorative, etc.) are numerous. Yoga helps improve flexibility, focus and stamina. Yoga has also been shown to increase muscle strength and tone, improve respiration, energy and vitality, maintain a healthy metabolism and improve cardio and circulatory health.
When transitioning to a healthier lifestyle, it is imperative that you find something you enjoy doing! If you pick a physical activity that you consider “fun”, you are not likely to associate it with discomfort or pain. Enrolling in an activity or class that you find enjoyable will help keep you motivated and stick with the program! Incorporating daily walks either on a treadmill or outdoors can also aid in your overall fitness and wellbeing. Walks are also another great way to keep you motivated and positive!
It is important to understand your body and listen to how it is feeling. Rest is an important component that should be incorporated into your workout routine! Soreness can result from physical exertion, especially if you are new to exercise or have not been active in some time. Counteracting soreness with yoga, stretches and foam rolling is high recommended (see our YouTube video, 5 Stretches to Eliminate Back Pain, https://youtu.be/5H8B_QrNyig). Drinking plenty of water before, during and after exercise is also a key piece to any effective fitness regimen!
The trainers at Green Zone Health & Fitness are here to help you get started on your path to health and wellness! Our trainers have numerous certifications including: Corrective Exercise, Strength and Conditioning, Performance Enhancement, Weight Loss and Nutrition. We provide in-home personal training to those living in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, personal training at one of our partner gyms or online personal training. Helping people live healthier, happier, fitter lives is our mission and we look forward to helping you get started on your fitness journey!