Gyms and Seniors: Working Out is Hip for Every Generation

Sweating and exercising seems to belong to the youth generation. Commercials and campaigns show fit, under-30 men and women pushing themselves to the best of their abilities.

In today’s youth market, it’s no surprise that there’s not much focus on older adults and working out. That is, until now. From 80-year-old body builders to marathon runners, older generations are making a statement in fitness.

Get Moving
You may not be up to running a marathon or bench-pressing three times your body weight, but you are up for becoming healthy. A daily exercise routine can help keep your body and mind fit and active.

You already know that exercise helps your body stay in shape. But what about all the health benefits of exercise? Doctors have long encouraged 20-30 minutes of daily exercise as important to health. The health benefits from exercise include:

· Increased cardiovascular health
· Increased strength
· Increased balance
· Increased flexibility
· Improved memory
· Reduced risk of falls
· Alleviated symptoms of depression and anxiety

Try Something New
No matter what exercise routine you choose to get started, you’ll start seeing results. There are many different types of workouts that you can start to incorporate into your daily routine. Stick with one routine, or switch up your routine on different days. And don’t forget to check in with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

• Walking
Just like Elizabeth Bennet said in Pride and Prejudice, “walking is very beneficial exercise.” One of the easiest and most powerful ways for you to exercise is to walk. Take a stroll around your neighborhood, or explore hiking trails in your local hills. Join a walking group, or take a friend with you. Exercise is a lot more fun when you share it with someone.

• Biking
No longer just for those hopeful of the Tour De France, biking is a great way for you to stay active. You’ll remember all the fun times you had biking around as a kid, and you can explore new avenues now. Have your bike checked by a service professional to keep everything in perfect shape. And don’t forget to wear a helmet!

• Swimming
While you might not be cannon balling into the pool anymore, swimming is a great way to increase your cardiovascular health. Swimming is low-impact on joints, making it a great go-to exercise method. Use the pool at your local gym or YMCA and swim 10 laps every morning. Try an aqua aerobics class – these classes add weights and the resistance of the water to give your muscles an extra workout.

• Yoga
You don’t have to travel to an ashram in India to enjoy the benefits of this centuries- old practice. There are Yoga studios opening in cities across the USA every day. The benefits of Yoga include increased flexibility, balance, and peace of mind. You don’t even have to go to a Yoga studio for class. Many gyms offer Yoga in their instructor-led classes. Staying in shape while relieving stress? It’s a no-brainer.

• Pilates
Founded by Joseph Pilates during World War I, Pilates is a low-impact series of exercises that strengthen the body. A technique beloved by dancers for cross-training, core strength is the focus throughout most of the exercises. Keep an eye out for the 100s, a core strengthening exercise that uses arm movements and rhythmic breathing to challenge your solar plexus, a staple in every Pilates class. Results happen fast—you may notice changes in your body within two weeks.

• Personal Trainers
Do you already have a gym membership? Schedule a personal training session. Personal trainers will be able to work with you and tailor a specialized routine. They can help you stay motivated and accountable for your exercise. Sessions can occur daily or weekly, to fit your needs.

Stay Focused
Don’t want to work-out in a crowded gym? There are plenty of options for you. The Silver Sneakers program runs throughout the USA, with classes only for seniors. Inquire if your gym has a special 55+ program.

Don’t feel like leaving the house? The Elder Gym offers online classes and DVDs for you to stay fit in the comfort of your own home.

Looking to find a gym near you? The AARP and ICAA teamed up to provide a nifty gym and health services finder for seniors. You can use their search option to get started on your road to exercise health.

Making the decision to start can be the hardest part. With support from your friends and family, you’ll be ready to get started in no time. Lace up your tennis shoes, pull on your windbreaker, and take a big step forward to a smarter and happier you.

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