Going for a bike ride is a great way to stay in shape as an older adult.
Just because your body is getting older doesn't mean it's time to stop or slow down your exercise habits. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, exercising in your twilight years is extremely important for maintaining good health, mental wellness, balance, stability and muscular strength. If you are elderly, performing a range of gentle, supportive exercises on a regular basis can do wonders for your health.
As your body ages, it's important to make sure that your muscles and joints stay flexible. Flexibility exercises, such as those found in gentle yoga and Pilates, will help to keep your muscles, joints and connective tissues supple and healthy. One simple flexibility exercise that is recommended for older adults is a standing forward bend. To perform this exercise, stand up tall with a straight spine. Bend at the waist and allow your upper body and head to hang down toward the floor. If you feel any pinching or tension in your lower back, bend your knees. Grab hold of opposite elbows and let your upper body hang like a rag doll, stretching your entire back, spine, hamstrings and calf muscles.
Break a Sweat
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults perform moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. For even greater health benefits, consider increasing the amount of time to 300 minutes per week, spread out over five or six days. Aim to get your heart pumping for at least 20 to 30 minutes per day. Some recommended cardio exercises for older adults include swimming, walking, water aerobics, light jogging, cycling and dancing. Before performing cardio exercises, be sure to spend five to 10 minutes warming up your body by walking in place, lightly jogging or performing jumping jacks.
Lifting weights and performing strength-training exercises is important for older adults. As the body ages, your muscles lose strength and elasticity, but you can combat the effects of time by regularly strengthening your muscles with exercise. Older adults can lift weights, use weight machines at the gym or perform body-weight conditioning exercises, such as squats, lunges, planks, situps and pushups. For a gentle conditioning exercise, try performing a pushup against a wall. Stand 1 to 2 feet away from a wall and place both palms on the wall at shoulder-height. Bend your elbows and lower your chin and chest until it hovers a few inches away from the wall. Press your palms into the wall and straighten your arms to come back to the starting position.
Tips and Considerations
As an older adult, it's important that you speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Your doctor can help you to come up with a tailored plan that factors in any health issues you may have, such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, obesity or osteoporosis. Combine exercise and regularly activity with a healthy, balanced diet for a holistic wellness routine.