- Aging & Longevity
Exercises To Help Seniors Keep Their Balance
Best Reason to Exercise
If you're a senior citizen or soon to be one, exercising regulary for your health of body and mind is one of the priorities to lving a long life. Longevity can be increased with simple, gentle exercises such as the ones explained here. Exercising can increase your leg strength and balance to help prevent one of the most dangerous events to the elderly -- falls.
Surprising statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention state that one in three adults over the age of 65 will fall this year, and deaths by falls has increased dramatically over the last ten years. Hopefully, this hub will inspire you or someone you care about to do more to prevent falls in your life with exercise.
Before starting an exercise program, consult your doctor and follow his/her advice. Ease into the program and consider one of the following ideas:
Swimming is Fun!
Swimming or exercising in a pool is wonderful for seniors with the support of the water making movement smooth and less stressful on joints.
Your lack of balance won't prohibit you from doing kicks and twists and other moves that would be dangerous for you out of the pool. The water helps hold up some of your weight. Plus, the water is therapeutic.
Resistance in the water is more fun because it doesn't jar your bones. Working out in the water naturally helps build your muscles (including your heart muscle). Doctors often recommend water therapy for healing after surgeries.
Pool exercising requires access to a pool and a swimsuit and towel. You should never work out alone in a pool and you need to follow safety rules.
If you're not lucky enough to have your own pool, then one of the best places to swim is at the local YMCA. The Y often has pool times just for seniors and classes for swimming or exercising for whatever level you are at. If you are hesitant about the cost of membership, be sure to check out senior discounts and/or put it on your gift list. Also check with a local high school or college that may offer pool time for the public.
You'll have so much fun!
Tai Chi is about balance and flexibility and movement. Originally for martial arts defense in China, the forms are now a great way to exercise that can be learned and continued throughout your entire life.
No equipment is needed. No special outfit required. You can do tai chi alone or with others, indoors or outside.
Tai chi has been gaining popularity and classes can be found in many places: the YMCA, senior citizen centers, community colleges, hospitals, parks, etc. Classes of "students" line up in rows to follow the teacher as the forms are performed in straight lines. All the moves are low impact, gentle and graceful. You will learn how to breathe correctly and to balance movement and tranquility. Movements have names, such as, "Bridge Over Water" or "Hands Strum the Lute".
Tai chi is fun and relaxing!
Learn Tai Chi
Balance and strength can come from yoga poses that have been developed and used for thousands of years. This ancient art from India is part body movement and part mind meditation. Start simple and grow into more difficult poses as you are able. What is great about yoga, as with any of these exercises on this hub, even the simplest moves will give health benefits.
Yoga should be done on a mat or carpet or grassy area. Loose clothing is a good idea. Yoga is done in bare feet. It can be practiced alone or with others, indoors or outdoors.
You can choose different poses according to how strenuous you want to work out. Many are done from a sitting or laying position. Others from standing positions. A teacher can show you how to adjust movements for your abilities. Even if you're in a wheelchair, you can do some yoga. Breathing and body awareness are very important in yoga. The poses have names, such as "Eye of the Needle" or "Mountain" or "Tree".
Find a Good Teacher
Instructors are available for each of these exercise options. If you find a good teacher, then you will enjoy the benefits from more personalized movements and adjustments that fit your physical abilities. You can also learn from books and videos, but a real life leader will be able to help you with correct feedback and encouragement.
Get Your Balance On!
Exercise can help you age gracefully and feel young. The balance and strength you can gain can help prevent falls. So, stop sitting there reading this hub! Start exercising. You don't even have to get out of your chair. You just have to move and breathe and get your balance on!