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Don’t let something like inclement weather make you inactive! Staying active - even if you’re exercising for only 15 minutes - can significantly improve senior health. For example, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that elderly adults who exercised spent 25% less time disabled or injured than those who did not. Physical activity can boost mood, add extra years to your life, help you maintain or lose weight, reduce the impact of illness and disease like Alzheimer’s, and enhance mobility, flexibility, and balance. Before you begin your exercise routine, talk to your doctor about your physical fitness goals and consider talking to a personal trainer. Wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes to avoid slippage or injury, drink plenty of water, and consider having another person around in case you fall or need help. Once you’re ready, get moving with the following exercise ideas.
Indoor walking – When the weather outside is too frightful or rainy, go for a walk in a museum, indoor shopping mall, school, conservatory, or other large public indoor space that is open to the public. Aim for a brisk 30-minute walk for a total of 2.5 hours per week. Consider getting a pedometer to count each step and track your distance.
Stretching exercises - Before you begin to exercise, it is important to stretch before and after to help reduce muscle pain and decrease risk of injury. However, stretching on its own is beneficial as well. Flexibility exercises can help offset the effects of normal decline in joint flexibility and help you remain active and independent. At least twice a week, seniors should aim to stretch their major muscles groups for at least ten minutes.
Gym membership – Through a combination of equipment, education, training, and socialization, gyms are the ideal location for exercise. Many gyms have discounted rates for seniors and some Medicare plans offer a free fitness program for seniors called SilverSneakers. Talk to a trainer or healthcare professional about creating an exercise routine and consider using cardio equipment like a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical trainer. You might also look into classes your gym offers, such as a spinning class, tennis lessons, or dance.
Indoor pool – Swimming is a beneficial low impact workout that presents little risk of injury and offers many health benefits for heart health, joints, flexibility, muscle strength, and stress reduction. If your gym doesn’t have an indoor swimming pool, contact a hotel, high school, university, or recreational center that does have one to find out if you can use it. Some facilities, businesses, and institutions may allow the public access to their pool for a fee.
At-home exercises – Create a home gym with as much or as little equipment necessary for your physical fitness needs. While you can order cardio equipment, you may only need some simple items like a workout mat, light weights, and a resistance band (an elastic band used for strength training). Consider the following ideas for indoor exercises you can do at home.
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Last Revised 11/15/2017