Youngsters know how to be stay fit. Don’t you get a kick out of watching a puppy or a little kid running around in circles for the pure joy of it? We tend to forget the joy aspect as we grow older. Young adults drag themselves to the gym because they know they should or because they want to fit into a smaller slack size. Older adults tend to go because their doctors scold them and tell them they must. Whatever the reason it is the right thing to do.
I love seeing seniors participate in fitness classes. I silently applaud their efforts and think “good for you” when I see them at the gym or walking in the neighborhood. However, for the most part, people tend to exercise less as they grow older, which is a grave mistake. Exercise is important at every age, but even more so for a senior.
Why is it that so many seniors refuse to exercise?
- Muscle and joint aches and pains become more noticeable, which makes self motivation harder. You may need professional advice to work up a program that takes your age into consideration. Find a cardiovascular exercise that you enjoy but that is easier on your joints; remember the object is still to boost the heart rate so you can’t ratchet it down too much. If you are lucky you can get away with just buying better shoes and inserts, but consider swimming and bicycling instead of running.
- Back pain becomes a way of life. Learn how to protect your back by building strong core muscles and taking extra precautions when lifting heavy objects.
- Compromised balance and leg strength. To prevent falls and increase flexibility; it is necessary to concentrate on leg strength. The large muscles in the thighs are important to keep you mobile and to stabilize knee joints. Strong thigh muscles mean you can walk distances, get up or sit down easily, and do everything from golf to dance.
- Bone strength: weight bearing exercises are necessary to keep bones healthy and strong.
- Symptoms of arthritis make exercising particularly difficult, but exercise is generally part of the treatment plan.
- Forgetting to exercise? No excuse. Remember that exercise is thought to slow down or prevent common forms of dementia.