What Is The Best Exercise for Seniors?

You have probably heard countless times that exercising is good for you. Being physically active keeps you healthy and helps you reduce the number of visits to the doctor’s office. But what exactly is the best way to exercise? Which activities bring the best results for your health? The answer is deceptively simple: do what you love. 

Your favorite physical activity may not be the most rigorous or efficient way to stay in shape, but it is still the best solution. Here is why: if you love what you do, you are much more likely to stick to your regimen and do it with continued passion. In the short run, your favorite exercise may not strengthen your muscles as fast as lifting weights in the gym. But if you resent going to the gym or performing the repetitive motion of lifting, sooner or later you will lose interest and stop exercising.

On the other hand, if you find an activity that you truly love, the health benefits in the long run are enormous. You will put more effort into exercising regularly and do it with spirit. Staying healthy comes down to finding the activity that will make you excited to get out of bed every morning.

Physical activity doesn’t always need to carry the label of “required exercise”. If thinking of getting active makes you feel like you are about to attend a mandatory gym class, then you are doing it wrong. It means that you have not yet found the best activity for you out there. We bring you some of the most beloved activities that bring both joy and good health.

Walking

One of the most favorite ways for staying active for people of all ages is walking. BobbiRant writes on hubpages.com:

“What worked for me was walking everywhere. I’d walk to the grocery store and carry two bags home. I’d walk, when living in the country, as far from the stores as possible.  I park my car as far from the store as I could and walk through the parking lot.  Power walking is the best.  I put some music in my ears and walk to the beat of the music.”

You can easily incorporate a motivating reward to your walk. That is, if you do not feel motivated enough to take a walk just for the sake of getting fresh air and exercise. Choose a destination that interests you. Make a point of going to the church every week or find your way to the local farmer’s market.

MayoClinic highlights that brisk walking can help you prevent or manage many conditions. These include heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. It also can help you maintain a healthy weight and strengthen your bones. MayoClinic also says that brisk walking can help lift your mood and improve your balance and coordination.

Some people might believe the myth that it’s too late for them to start getting in shape. Put that thought aside! That is not true for anyone, regardless of their age. If you feel discouraged, keep reading to find inspiration from the activities below.

Gardening

Although not always the first to come to mind, gardening is another activity that will keep you active. WebMD.com, a health information website writes: “Trying your hand at gardening may be the best-kept secret to getting and staying in shape. It provides all three types of exercise: endurance, flexibility, and strength.”

Jeff Restuccio, author of Fitness the Dynamic Gardening Way, suggests that you make gardening into a structured exercise routine. “For example, you can alternate light activities with heavier ones. Rake for a while, then dig holes, then prune. Exercise 30 to 60 minutes, then quit, whether everything is planted or not,” he advises.

If you have a spacious backyard or just some free space on your balcony, gardening is a great opportunity to stay healthy.

Swimming

For those active seniors who have access to a pool, swimming might be the best way to get your daily dose of movement. It will strengthen your muscles while minimizing the risk of any injuries.

Exercise physiologist Robert A. Robergs highlights the benefits of swimming: “It is a good, whole-body exercise that has low impact for people with arthritis, musculoskeletal, or weight limitations.”

Angela Lane describes to WebMD.com how she fell in love with swimming: “People would tell me, ‘You need to run or walk,’ but when I tried that, my ankles and knees hurt,” she says. “When I finally realized I needed to exercise, I said, ‘OK, what do I like?’ because if you like it, you’re going to do it more.”

She took to the pool. Her first goal was completing just one lap.

“Each week, I would get stronger and stronger,” says Lane. “Swimming really began to strengthen, condition, and tone my body without those harsh, jarring effects of some of those other exercise programs.”

If you are fond of water, chances are you will also fall in love with swimming and find it truly rewarding.

Even if walking, gardening or swimming are not clear winners for you, keep pondering over what you like doing the best. Any activity done with dedication and enthusiasm will have long term benefits. Take your passion and let it keep you healthy, strong and independent.

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