Welcome to a new year! This is a perfect time to evaluate your physical activity and resolve to make some changes in your workout plan. Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining strength, balance and flexibility in older age and can help you remain independent.
Get Your Body Moving Every Day
Exercise is not just for the young. In fact, you may experience more benefits by staying active in later life. Physical activity can help delay or prevent chronic conditions like stroke, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer.
Most experts recommend that older adults do various exercises that incorporate strength, balance, endurance and flexibility. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should have 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per week and two days of muscle strengthening.
Adults With Arthritis Need Joint-friendly Activities
No one wants to do exercises that cause pain. If you have arthritis, you need to find low-impact activities that will be gentle on your joints. Try to do exercises that do not cause pain higher than a five on a scale of 1 to 10. Some exercises will get easier as you become more accustomed to them, but you should stop if they cause inflammation or joint pain.
Here are some examples of low-impact activities that will help you stay fit and maintain independence:
- Swimming — Known as the “no impact” workout, swimming is ideal for all age groups. Adults with arthritis and back pain can swim without straining their muscles and joints.
- Walking — Experts agree that walking may be the best activity for older adults. Daily walking can help prevent chronic conditions and help people lose weight. Walking can also improve mental health, so get outside and walk daily.
- Yoga — Combining balance, flexibility and strength, yoga focuses on coordination and stabilizing the core. Improving stability can prevent falls and fractures in older age.
- Strength training — Whether you use dumbbells, resistance bands or just your body weight, strength training is essential for maintaining and building muscle mass.
Physical Activity Reduces the Risk of Hip Fractures
Hip fractures can be a disabling or even fatal injury for older adults. More than 300,000 Americans over 65 are hospitalized for hip fractures every year. More than 95 percent of hip fractures occur when people fall, and women are three times more likely to fracture a hip than men.
Hip fracture risk increases with age, but you can lower your risk by exercising regularly. For example, one study found that active adults can reduce their risk of hip fracture by 20-60 percent compared to inactive adults.
Make an Appointment With Your Orthopedist
One of the keys to overall health is to move more and sit less. You know your body better than anyone else. If you have chronic joint pain, it may be time to visit an orthopedist.
Your orthopedist can help you select activities that are safe and enjoyable for you. If you have a variety of fun exercises, you are more likely to do them regularly. An active lifestyle will help you remain independent and self-sufficient for years to come.