Staying fit as a senior citizen is just as important as it is for people who are half your age. Due to the natural process of aging, you start to lose muscle tissue and your strength decreases. Although you can’t completely prevent the natural aging process, you can certainly slow it down by keeping fit and active.
Whether you want to maintain the muscle that you have or get stronger, here are some tips for staying fit if you’re over 65 years old.
Consult Your Doctor First
Before you start a new fitness routine or make drastic changes to your diet or daily activity, it’s a wise idea to speak to your doctor. He or she can make helpful suggestions and will tell you about any precautions you should take. Many doctors also become major motivators and cheerleaders, helping their older patients keep up with fitness goals.
Getting Enough Exercise
Senior citizens should strive to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week. If you are just adopting a healthier lifestyle and have little to no experience with regular exercise, you can start exercising in 10 minutes increments and slowly increase. Don’t get too hung up on reaching 150 minutes or more each week. Focus on exercising for 10 minutes and go from there.
Types of Exercise
Exercise should get your heart pumping and help with flexibility and strength. The types of exercise you should focus on include endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Here are some examples of the following types of exercise.
- Endurance – Walking, Dancing, Jogging
- Strength – Dumbbells, Resistance Bands
- Balance/Flexibility – Yoga for Seniors, Basic Stretching
While you can sign up for a class at your local gym or senior center, many exercises are easy enough to do in the comfort of your living space. Even seniors who live in assisted living or nursing home facilities, which are usually smaller areas, can do these types of exercises as there’s little equipment or room required.
Maintaining healthy eating habits doesn’t get any easier as you get older, but it does become more important. Eating a well-balanced meal or one that follows any restrictions from your doctor, can give you enough energy, nutrients, and keep your weight under control.
Getting Adequate Sleep
As you age, you may notice that getting a good night’s sleep is difficult. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that older adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Adequate sleep is not only better for your health, but it can keep you from falling asleep at the wheel if you still drive and keeps you more alert and less at risk of injury.
Even in your “Golden Years,” your health and fitness are important, and there are easy and fun ways to be a healthier you.
Track You Activity
Sometimes it is helpful to start tracking your activity. It is difficult to argue against data. Buy a fitness tracker. Track what you normally do for a week. The next week try to improve those numbers by 5%. For example, if you walked 2000 steps per day on average, next week tray to average 2100 steps. It may not seem like a lot, but over time you will have major increases.