Two of the most troubling effects of age are loss of physical flexibility and balance issues. While these changes may be natural, it doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it! We have assembled some fitness tips for seniors who need to improve flexibility and balance.
Stretching exercises are effective in helping to maintain flexibility. Whether you are active, frequently take walks, cycle, or exercise, stretching exercises are necessary, as these movements keep your muscles and joints flexible. If you regularly exercise, perform stretches at the end of your routine, as your muscles are already warm. If you live a more sedentary lifestyle, you can do stretches at any time of day – but planning a specific time to perform stretches can help you do them every day! You can complete your stretching while watching TV, listening to music, or even chatting on the phone. You should perform stretches at least twice a week for a minimum of 10 minutes per session. Stretch every area, including arms, legs, ankles, neck, back, and abdomen. Strengthening your core with stretches has the side effect of improving your ability to balance.
Balance Your Body
Various healthy conditions and some medications can lead to balance problems. This can be worrisome, as no one wants to fall, particularly in the golden years when bones are more fragile. However, you can improve your balance with a simple exercise called the “one-leg stand,” which is precisely what it sounds like – standing on one leg for as long as possible on each leg. If you are unstable on your feet, ensure you are holding onto a chair, table, or wall when performing this exercise. Another exercise that can improve balance is rising out of a chair without using your hands. When sitting down, rather than flopping into your favorite chair, slowly lower yourself until seated.
Swimming is a great strengthening exercise, as every muscle is used. When your body is stronger, it is easier to balance, with the added benefit of increasing natural energy. Make new friends by signing up for a swimming program for seniors, and feel better, look better, and discover renewed energy.
Yoga exercise is one of the best for body strength and balance, without impact. You can improve your body’s flexibility and balance and enjoy a boost in your emotional health by signing up for a Yoga program.
You can enjoy freedom by cycling, which is excellent exercise. You can use a stationary bike at home, at the gym, or venture out to a safe bike path to enjoy the out-of-doors. Always wear a helmet when cycling, and choose safe areas rather than busy streets.
Medicare and Exercise for Seniors – You Have Options!
If you notice you feel less energy, are getting out less, and are experiencing balance problems, your Medicare plan can help. Several fitness programs are covered under Medicare and are more affordable or free, including aerobics, aquatic therapy, and swimming. For some programs, you need a referral, so speak to your primary care doctor to help you get moving, feel better, and keep your body strong.