Staying Fit As You Age

One of the major keys to remaining healthy as you age is staying mobile. Reduced mobility is a major inhibitor to a healthy, active lifestyle so you want to keep that at bay for as long as possible. The ability to remain independent in your home, with perhaps just a little in-home assistance is the goal!

If you haven’t been keen on working out in any real way up to now, a great way to get started is to put together a home routine that you can do several times a week. As your mobility improves, you can extend your workouts to the outdoors too! Make sure you include your home care provider in your plans: perhaps they can accompany on your initial walks, to make sure that everything goes smoothly!

There are a few of things that happen to our bodies, as we age: we start to lose bone density and muscle mass, our circulation deteriorates, and our ability to keep our balance gets thrown off. So while the news would have us believing that the biggest concerns for seniors are conditions like heart disease, more seniors will be seriously injured or worse from a slip and fall accident, often right at home.

Working out helps with these three areas of personal fitness: strength, flexibility, and balance. You’ll also experience other positive effects, like better sleep and more endurance. Just be sure to check in with your doctor before starting a new fitness routine and keep your in-home care provider in the loop too!

"Without question, exercise is the most powerful intervention to address muscle loss, whether it occurs in the context of advancing age or debilitating chronic or acute diseases," explains Nathan K. LeBrasseur, Ph.D., of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.” (Source)

Working out at home

If you’re starting a basic routine at home, you can focus on stretching, strength, and balance with these types of exercises:

  • Always remember to stretch before you work out; even the simplest routine can strain a muscle if you start right in without warming up a little first.

  • You can use your body’s own weight as resistance with exercises such as:

  • Wall push-ups— Stand no more than two feet from a wall, with your feet positioned shoulder-width apart. Lean forward and place your palms flat on the wall, at shoulder height. Then lean in and push back. Repeat.

  • Chair dips— Sit in a solid chair that has armrests. Place your hands on the rests and lift your bodyweight out of the chair, hold for a second and then lower yourself back down. Repeat.

  • Leg raises— Lie on your back in a relaxed position and left your feet off the floor, at a height of about 6 to 10 inches, using only your abdominal muscles. Hold that position and slowly bring your feet back down to the ground. Repeat.

  • Small hand-held weights and resistance bands are also great tools to add to your workout routine. With either, you can do bicep curls and leg raises that will have more resistance and more effect.

Heart-healthy aerobic exercise outside of the house!

Getting your heart pumping and the blood flowing is vital to healthy living and building up more endurance is key to mobility. Ask any senior care worker and they’ll tell you that their happiest clients are those who can still get around and get things done. There are plenty of low impact options that are fun and effective.

The goal with low impact activities is to minimize excess stress on joints, like hips, knees and ankles. Particularly if you suffer from arthritis or other motion limiting problems, low impact exercise is a great choice.

Here are some options to consider:

  • Swimming

  • Water aerobics classes

  • Indoor cycling, on your own or as part of a class

  • Walking - outdoors or on a treadmill

  • Elliptical machines

Strength exercises to keep your muscles toned

Sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss, begins in our 40s. One of the best ways to prevent significant loss of muscle mass is by engaging in strength exercises. Like what?

  • Nautilus weights at a local gym—get some help from a trainer at first to make sure you’re adapting a routine to your abilities and goals.

  • Small handheld free weights, either on their own, or bring them along while you’re walking!

Stretch your muscles

Exercise that works with your aerobic activities to strengthen your core AND help you maintain balance and flexibility? Perfect!

Such as?

  • Yoga

  • Pilates

  • Tai chi

An effective routine needs consistency, so mix up your activities a little to keep it interesting, but make sure to include several of each type, every week: aerobic, strength and stretching.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering in-home senior care in Atlanta, please call the compassionate, caring staff at Mothers Helping Hands Home Care. Call Today! M-F 8 am to 8 pm 470-260-4137. We're Also Available 24/7: (678) 661-7362 . We proudly serve 17 counties in the state of Georgia: Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb, Dougherty, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Harris, Henry, Lamar, Meriwether, Muscogee, Newton, Rockdale, and Walton County

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