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The Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

Senior Fitness for a Healthy Body, Mind and Soul

A common misconception among seniors is that the older you get, the less active you’ll automatically become. Health issues, chronic pain, or being concerned with injuring oneself are often the reasons cited for slowing down and living a more sedentary lifestyle. While it’s true that aging brings a decrease in muscle mass that often leads to compromised balance and weaker bones, by leading an inactive lifestyle these issues will only escalate.

Exercise for seniors offers a variety of key benefits that improve overall quality of life. The National Institute on Aging reports that regular physical activity can actually help delay or even prevent some chronic age-related conditions like heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, stroke, and more. Plus, when your body is strong and healthy it is far more likely to better fight off infection and recover from an illness or injury.

Experts have also said that regular exercise actually may be one of the most cost-effective and beneficial options seniors have to improve their overall memory and brain health. As you exercise, your heart rate increases, which pumps more oxygen to the brain. This ultimately leads to the release of hormones that aid in the promotion of new brain cells.

Another great benefit of exercise for seniors? Exercise is also a well-known mood booster. This is because exercising produces those “feel-good” endorphins in the brain that can help relieve feelings of depression, anxiety, and sadness. Plus, it’s can also reduce your stress levels and make you feel more self-confident – when you are stronger and healthier, it tends to show on both the outside and the inside. Emily Meloche, Director of Wellness at Silver Maples shares, “In just our half hour session we touch on three types of exercise – stretching, strength training, and cardio – all while listening to music, chatting, and having fun!  Everyone simply adjusts the routine to fit their needs and abilities. It’s remarkable how our exercise sessions serve as both a mood and energy booster.  You might expect folks to leave tired out, but we walk out of the room buzzing, and looking forward to whatever else our day holds.”

What Exercises for Seniors are Safest?

It’s never too late to engage in a senior fitness program and start reaping all the benefits mentioned above! The key is to find an activity you enjoy and start at a level that’s easy to maintain. Then, you’ll find yourself looking forwarding to your daily workout, especially as your health starts to improve and you’re seeing the results you’re seeking.

In general, seniors should work to blend three different types of exercises into their routines:

  • Flexibility and Stretching Exercises: Warm up your muscles before a workout and cool them down when you’re finished by properly stretching. Stretching also helps maintain your flexibility, which means less muscle soreness and stiffness. Plus, when muscles are loose and supple they are less prone to injury, and you’ll have a better overall range of motion.
  • Aerobic, Cardio and Endurance Exercises: These exercises, which include walking, swimming, hiking and cycling, help promote independence because they improve your endurance for daily tasks like house cleaning and running errands. This is because they utilize large muscle groups in rhythmic motions over a specified period of time, increasing your heart rate to get you breathing faster.
  • Strength/Resistance and Power Training: Utilizing equipment like weights or bands while completing repetitive motions ultimately improve your overall muscle strength. Strength-training exercises are beneficial because they help prevent loss of bone mass and improve your balance- both of which are key to mobility and avoiding falls.

Senior Health and Wellness: A High Priority at Silver Maples

Silver Maples’ motto is Stay Active…Embrace Life…Age Well! That’s why we offer a wide variety of health, wellness and fitness programs for various levels of ability to maintain the highest quality of life possible. Our retirement neighborhood is designed with paved walking paths for daily outdoor strolls, on-site exercise classes and workout room, plus a free membership to the Chelsea Wellness Center, which is just a short walk away.

Additionally, the Chelsea Community Wellness Paths (a .85 mile loop), circles Silver Maples and is a multi-use path that can be used for walking, jogging and bicycling and is enjoyed by individuals young and old. Want to learn more about all that Silver Maples has to offer? Contact us today to schedule your personal tour.

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