Planning a Well-Rounded Senior Fitness Program
Until recently, it was assumed that only the young needed to exercise.
By Donovan Baldwin
However, recent studies, and, a change in attitude towards life on the part of seniors, has changed that. Of course, this change in attitude and information has been accompanied by a realization of the unique needs and conditions of the older population.
Special attention is now being paid to those seniors who suffer from age-related illnesses,conditions, and, very particularly, joint disease.
For these people especially, exercise should be relatively gentle, particularly in the early stages of any senior fitness program. In fact, in addition to helping the senior exerciser avoid injury, starting "right" can often determine whether the senior continues to exercise, reaping the many health benefits of exercise, or gives up and lets old age take over their lives.
In addition to these special considerations, there are factors which should be considered for any well rounded senior fitness program.
By the way, one particular factor important to the success of any exercise program will be motivation.
First of all, what is your present condition, or, to put it another way, current state of fitness?
In addition to any age related factors to be allowed for, you must allow for where you are at the moment. This will include not only the state of whatever passes for your fitness program at the moment, but, your age, what you have done along the fitness line in the past, what your childhood was like, your genetic makeup, and so on.
Not being in good enough shape to exercise at a given level, a condition which limits your performance of certain exercises, or, a poor understanding of the exercise options available to you can all put the kibbosh on your new senior fitness program. In fact, not taking such factors into account can be a hindrance to success at any age.
Now, just because you get off on the wrong foot, doesn't mean that exercise isn't going to work for you. It simply means that you need to fine tune your activities...or expectations. You also may need to tailor your senior fitness program to take your specific situation into account. For example, someone with arthritis may need to do things a bit differently than someone who does not have to deal with the condition.
Fortunately, in the age of the Internet, it's fairly easily to check the websites of foundations and organizations which deal with these conditions and find information on exercises which may work well for someone suffering from that particular ailment.
Even the senior who has no specific problems to speak of, still need to be careful not to start too fast, work out too intensely, or for too long. Such a workout can cause motivation to fade, pain to occur, and, perhaps even injury. It is much better to do less, but do it regularly, than to try to do too much too soon, and fail to achieve your fitness goals at all.
While there are different types of exercises, it is a good idea to select some that are aerobic, some which are strength building, and some which help increase flexibility.
Aerobics can improve heart, lung, and circulation and help you stay younger, longer. Strength training not only helps improve muscular strength, but also helps improve balance and maintain bone density. Combining both can be beneficial for a longer life and a healthier, more productive one. Stretching exercises for flexibility make the daily chores of life easier to deal with, as they also help improve balance and coordination while helping to relieve stress.
Incorporating all three of these forms of exercise into your senior fitness program will help provide the maximum health benefits of exercise which you are seeking. Changing things up a bit, or concentrating from time to time on certain forms of exercise can not only help by providing a wider range of activity, but, can also help maintain motivation by alleviating, or preventing, boredom.
In the long run, there is not one senior fitness program that fits all.
You will not only have to find what works best for you, but, learn to recognize, and understand, the signals which your body is transmitting.
While you begin your senior fitness program with an easy routine, you cannot stay at the same level and expect to gain the full range of health benefits of exercise which may be available to you. Combining the three forms of exercise, varying your workouts, gradually challenging yourself and increasing your activity, and trying new forms of exercise, can all help prevent boredom, keep you motivated and interested, while providing the maximum health benefits of exercise.
You cannot workout the way you might have in your 20's, or even your 40's, and you cannot use someone else's senior fitness program, but, if you think about it, that's a good thing, probably.