When someone thinks about joining a gym, it’s usually to lose weight, gain muscle tone, train for a sporting event, or feel healthier. For older adults, the main goals for exercise often includes maintaining quality of life, mobility, and preventing chronic disease.
Fitness for every body
Regardless of fitness level, as we age, our muscle mass decreases, balance becomes unsteady, bones weaken, and flexibility decreases. This is why it is harder to stand up from a seated position and daily tasks are more taxing. To combat these normal signs of aging, we need to focus on strengthening and maintaining muscle mass, staying mobile and flexible, improving cardiovascular health and endurance, and preserving balance and stability. Exercise must be helpful, not hurtful, so finding the perfect intensity is important to avoid injury while still getting results.
Where to start with exercise? There are many options for people who are reentering the fitness arena.
1. Low-impact aerobics
Thirty minutes per day of aerobic activity will help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, burn calories, maintain joint movement, improve heart health, and boost energy levels. Start with just 5 or 10 minutes and increase as your stamina improves. What’s most important is the type of cardio exercise you do. Choose low-impact activities like biking, swimming, walking, elliptical training, or the rowing machine to reduce strain on your joints.
2. Progressive strength training
We lose 5 percent of our muscle mass every decade after our 30th birthday. Atrophy (muscle loss) can affect our metabolism (how many calories we burn at rest), posture, chance of injury, balance, and bone density. The good news is we can reverse these with a progressive strength training routine. Strength training isn’t isolated to the weight rack. You can try body weight, machine-based, and resistance band exercises to start. How much? Try two to three days a week of a full body workout.
Pilates is a form of light strength training focused largely on the core and stabilizing muscles that help with balance and mobility. It was originally created to help dancers build a strong center, improve flexibility, and fix postural alignment. With some modifications, Pilates is recommended to adults of all ages for these benefits.
4. Gentle yoga
Yoga is a gentle, low-impact way to gain mobility, flexibility, and strength. If you’re intimidated by the thought of walking into a yoga class with no experience, don’t be. There are plenty of beginner yoga classes available, and you can always ask one of the certified instructors to help you modify poses.
5. Water aerobics and strength training
Water aerobics and strength training may be one of the best modes of exercise for older adults, especially for those with arthritis or osteoporosis. Aqua exercise improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens muscles with minimal stress on your joints and bones. Studies have also shown that swimming doesn’t only strengthen your body, it also helps keep your mind sharp. You can start your exercise regimen by joining an Aqua Dynamics class in the warm-water therapy pool; you don’t even have to know how to swim. Or swim laps in the lap pool at the Montage Wellness Center if you have selected that fitness center through your Silver & Fit® benefit.
Don’t forget your fitness benefit!
Don’t forget to take advantage of all the offerings available through Aspire Health’s fitness benefit. Options include:
- Low-cost annual fitness center membership
- Digital workout videos including yoga, Pilates, cardio, and more
- Stay Fit Kits. Choose from wearable fitness trackers, yoga kits, dumbbells, and more
- Daily live workout videos
- Home fitness kits, including tai chi, chair-based exercise, and many more
How do you get started? All members are eligibility for the Silver&Fit® exercise and healthy aging program*. Once you enroll and pay your annual member fee, you’ll have access to the tools and resources you need to be fit and live well. Visit their website to learn more.
*Silver&Fit® is provided by American Specialty Health Fitness, Inc. a subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH). Silver&Fit® is a federally registered trademark of ASH.