When you think of retirement, what comes to mind? Endless calm afternoons spent reading in a comfy chair? Quiet weekends spent playing card games? Or, even better, how about training for your next 5k race or joining a hiking group, or maybe even learning a new sport or style of dance? Thankfully, the notion of retirement being the age of being sedentary is quickly going out of style. Being an active senior is so popular that it even has its very own day. That’s right – May 31st this year is National Senior Health and Fitness Day. It’s a good thing that the senior fitness movement is gaining momentum, considering that by the year 2060, approximately one out of every four US residents will be a senior citizen. Obviously, however, fitness at the age of 75 likely looks different than it does at the age of 45, 55, or even 65. So how does a senior citizen stay active and healthy, even with age-related aches and pains? Here we have a few tips for how you can, and should, exercise as a senior citizen.
1. Let go of the past. Whether you were a track star, football quarterback, or even one who hated to exercise during your younger years, it’ll do you no favors to dwell on those days of yore. Start fresh with your fitness ideals and goals. Any exercise you do now is way better than no exercise. Cut yourself some slack and just get moving in whatever way feels right to you.
2. Learn, learn, learn. Have you always thought you hated yoga? Wondering what this pickleball craze is all about? Tastes and preferences can change as we get older. Plus, you’re never too old to stop learning, or to stop exercising. Your local rec center likely has a ton of classes that are geared toward any age, and maybe even some that are specifically for seniors. Also, be sure to ask your Fitness Together trainer for new ways to move and get stronger, as he or she will have a ton of ideas.
3. Fear not. Does the thought of exercising make you fearful of falling or otherwise injuring yourself? All the more reason to exercise as a senior! Working out on a regular basis can strengthen your bones, improve your balance, keep your coordination sharp, and condition your muscles. The takeaway? Exercise more to decrease your chance of falling or hurting yourself.
4. Think it through. Studies abound on the benefits of exercise for mental health. Not only does working out help stave off depression, but it can help keep dementia at bay. One study published in 2014 in Alzheimer’s and Dementia found that participants who exercised twice per week had a lower risk of dementia than those less active. Some scientists believe that this is because exercise helps stimulate the growth of new neurons. But regardless of the “why” exercise helps your mind stay fresh and sharp, all that matters is that it does.
At Fitness Together we realize that exercise is more important than ever as you age into your senior years. We’ll be happy to discuss with you ways to keep your mind and body in peak form at every age and stage of your life.
JD Christie, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer
OWNER, FITNESS TOGETHER BELLEAIR
JD is dedicated to living a healthy and rewarding lifestyle. “I enjoy challenging each client to bring out and utilize their full potential so they can live healthier and happier lives.”