As our age starts to creep up, so can our weight. Decreased hormone production, muscle loss and a more sedentary lifestyle all make keeping the pounds off harder than it used to be when we were younger.
However, adding just a few extra minutes of exercise into your day can rev up your metabolism and slow down the scale. By taking a morning walk around your favorite St. Louis neighborhood or a group exercise class with friends, you can easily incorporate senior wellness tips into your life.
Putting healthy living tips for seniors into action
Getting in shape as a senior doesn’t require long hours at a local St. Louis gym or workouts beyond your comfort level. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, older adults should get about 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, swimming or other aerobic activities, each day and do strength training two to three nonconsecutive days a week.
Some workout tips for senior citizens include:
- Make your move. Sneak in some extra steps whenever you can. Park far away from the front door at the grocery store. If you can, take the steps instead of the escalator. Dance around the kitchen as you cook dinner. An extra five or 10 minutes of exercise here and there throughout the day can quickly add up!
- Join the resistance. Researchers found that adults lose three to eight percent of their muscle mass each decade after they turn 30. By using free weights, resistance bands or weight machines (under a trainer’s guidance), you not only hold on to that muscle mass, you also condition your joints and improve bone density.
- Mix up your workout. On strength training days, after a warm-up, lift your weights first before jumping into your aerobic exercise. Your muscles won’t wear out as fast, and the “aerobic afterburn” will be more effective in increasing your metabolism.
- Don’t limit yourself. Most seniors find that “sweet spot” of the day for exercise depends on their schedule. For instance, you may take a bike ride in the morning when the St. Louis heat is turned down. However, experts say adding an extra workout later in the day, such as a few minutes of jump rope while you watch the evening news, can keep your heart going strong.
- Find your balance. As we age, our core muscles tend to weaken, which can affect our balance and increase our risk of falls. Throughout the day, work on a few balance exercises, such as a basic tree yoga pose (using a sturdy chair for support), walking an imaginary tightrope (heel to toe), or marching in place.
- Get to class. According to researchers in Japan, seniors who participated in regular group exercise classes reported that the social connectedness helped them improve their functional health compared to working out alone. In addition, group classes give you the accountability you need when all you want to do is stay home and rest.
[Read More: The National Institute on Aging at NIH has a wealth of senior fitness activities, exercises, and motivation on their site, Go4Life.]
Envision Wellness Programs – creating a healthy lifestyle for the elderly in St. Louis
If you live in St. Louis and want to take the next step toward greater health, contact a Wellness Program coordinator at Envision Health Partners to develop a personal wellness plan. In addition to offering rehab and support services customized to your specific fitness needs, Envision hosts senior wellness classes for just $45 a month at locations across the region.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, improve bone density, or all three, our senior fitness experts can put a plan together for you. Reach out to us today for your free health assessment.
Need help talking with your parent or other family members?
Feel free to contact us today for a free in-home assessment as we can provide helpful suggestions that will make this difficult conversation a little easier.