Staying Active In Retirement By Housingforseniors.com

by Jennifer Grey, HousingForSeniors.com Columnist | September 17, 2012 | Comments

Exercise is not just a youthful endeavor. A healthy lifestyle that contains an exercise program is important for anyone, but it becomes even more important as a person ages. Exercise keeps the body fit as it promotes blood flow; but it also helps to keep the mind active. A good practice for a retired person is to begin an exercise routine at least three times a week. As seniors age, they can lose between 30 to 40 percent of body's lean muscle mass. Lean body mass is very important to maintaining bone mineral density, it helps support joints and helps the senior be able to take part in life's everyday normal activities.

Many people might be under the notion that it is normal for a senior's physical wellbeing to decrease with aging. Increasing your physical activity at any age in your senior years will slow the body's decline and boost your health and immune system. Senior exercise has a positive effect on such things as arthritis, peripheral artery disease, the heart, diabetes and more. Besides helping to keep your lean body mass, a regular exercise routine improves memory and helps you sleep better.

For those who have not been active for a few years, if you're over 40, make an appointment with your physician to get a check-up and ensure you are fit to begin an exercise program. Once clear to exercise, seniors need to include four types of activities into their exercise routine: strength, balance, endurance and stretching.

Strength

Strength training is critical to creating a stronger torso, the body's core and legs. It helps the senior gain physical stability, and it increases the ability to get up and exercise. Strength training also helps the senior get around more easily where he or she can enjoy other physical activities. A strength-training program involves using small dumbbells or weights. Used regularly, strength-training exercise helps a senior regain muscular strength and tone and experience relief from other physical ailments such as obesity, diabetes and back problems.

Balance

Strength training along with balance exercises help to prevent falls that can be damaging to the senior's body. Strength training also helps build bone mass to make bones stronger. A senior's balance can decline as he or she ages, because of the lack of muscular strength and tone. To achieve better balance and feel better, consider exercises that improve balance and coordination. Tai Chi is an exercise program that is gentle on the body, but it helps seniors strengthen their balance. It also improves blood pressure, flexibility and movement.

Endurance

Endurance activities such as swimming, walking or bike riding help to improve a senior's staying power as it also improves the heart and circulatory system health. Endurance exercises increase your heart rate and breathing for a specific period. Though the mind might be willing to begin endurance training immediately, it's best to build up endurance a little bit at a time. You can start out with as little as 5 minutes of endurance exercise and work as you improve. If you've been inactive, it might take a while to go from moderate to vigorous endurance activities. The most important thing to remember is to work at your pace, without pushing your body beyond its limits.

Stretching

Stretching exercises help seniors gain mobility and flexibility as well as help prevent injuries from rigorous activities. Some of the activities a senior can do include parking further away from the store and walking. Climbing stairs instead of using elevators or escalators are activities that can become part of a regular exercise regime. Seniors without regular stretching regimes lose their mobility as both muscles and joints become stiff. When that happens, the body's flexibility also decreases. There are a number of stretching exercises that seniors can use to strength their muscles and gain flexibility and mobility.

Depending upon the physical condition of the body, seniors can do stretching exercises while sitting, standing, or while on the ground. Many people turn to pills for solutions to help them lose weight and get healthy. There are no magic pills that can make the body toned and fit, regardless of the reports of many health fraud scams. Paying attention to diet, regular exercise and sound sleep are the age-old solutions that will be the most effective.

About the Author

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Jennifer is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has worked as a GED teacher for an adult education nonprofit for several years, teaching students ranging in age from sixteen to sixty-eight. Today, she writes and researches on numerous topics-including adult education, senior living, and travel.