It’s general knowledge that seniors can benefit from exercise in terms of health and longevity. For some, incorporating exercise into their daily lives comes naturally. But it can be challenging to find appropriate fitness classes for seniors. While exercising at home is possible, enrolling in a fitness class that offers exercise programs for seniors is a terrific way to start.
A fitness regimen can give you the tools, accountability and motivation to stay on track. Also, it can help you with your social life. Senior fitness courses provide a wide range of exercise options for seniors. It also reduces the intimidation factor for individuals who are just getting started with exercise.
So, where do you start looking for a senior exercise class?
What are the Benefits of Exercise for Seniors?
Regular exercise is important for people of all ages, but it is especially important for seniors. Exercise can help to improve balance and flexibility, both of which can help to reduce the risk of falls. In addition, exercise helps to improve cardiovascular health, increase strength and endurance, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Seniors who are physically active also tend to have sharper minds and a lower risk of cognitive decline and may even help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Furthermore, exercise can help to improve mood and sleep quality, and it can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. All of these benefits make exercise an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as we age.
Once cleared by a medical professional, there are a number of different types of exercise that seniors can do to improve their health.
Physical Health Benefits of Exercise for Seniors
Exercise can benefit you physically as an older adult in many ways. Here are some of the physical health benefits of senior exercise and fitness:
1. Maintain or reduce your weight
As you age, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain your weight. Your metabolism might slow down which makes burning calories and building muscle mass harder than before for older adults. But regular exercise will make it easier for seniors to burn calories at an increased rate while also building up that toned body.
2. Chronic diseases and other illnesses have a reduced impact
Exercise has been shown to help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even some forms of cancer. For seniors who already have chronic diseases, exercise can help manage the symptoms and improve overall health.
3. Maintaining mobility and independence
As we age, it’s common to experience a decline in physical function and mobility. Exercise can help slow down or even reverse this decline by strengthening muscles, improving joint function, and increasing flexibility. For seniors who are looking to maintain their independence, exercise is key.
Mental Health Benefits of Senior Fitness
There are many mental fitness exercises for seniors . You can mentally benefit from exercise in the following ways:
1. Improve your sleeping habits
With age, we may experience different changes in sleeping patterns. One of the most significant mental health benefits of senior fitness is improved sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, regular exercise can help to improve sleep quality and reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. In addition, exercise can help to increase energy levels during the day, which can in turn lead to better sleep at night.
2. Boost your self-esteem and mood
If you’re feeling down, a workout may be just what you need to boost your mood. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-elevating effects. One study found that seniors who participated in a moderate-intensity walking program reported significant improvements in mood and self-esteem and mood.
3. Boost your cognitive abilities
One of the best things we can do to improve cognitive function is to exercise our brains regularly with activities that challenge us mentally. This can help improve our memory, attention span, and executive function. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other logic games are all great brain exercises. In addition, learning a new skill or language can also help keep our minds active and engaged. According to several studies and dementia resource guides, getting active can even assist in halting the progression of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
4. Overcoming barriers
As you age, it’s important to stay active and exercise regularly in order to maintain your health and quality of life. However, there are often barriers that make it difficult to stay physically active as you get older.
As retired adults have more free time, they often don’t feel the need to exercise as they did when they were working. Another common barrier is a lack of energy. As we age, we naturally have less energy and may not feel like exercising. In addition, many seniors experience aches, pains, and other health issues that make physical activity seem daunting. Finally, some older adults simply don’t know where to start when it comes to staying active!
Fortunately, there are ways to overcome these barriers and live a healthy lifestyle at any age. First, it’s important to find an activity that you enjoy and that doesn’t put too much strain on your body. Second, if you lack the time to exercise, try breaking up your workouts into shorter, more frequent sessions throughout the day. Low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, and yoga are ideal for older adults.
If you have chronic health conditions, talk to your doctor or a trainer about safe ways to stay active. They may be able to recommend specific exercises or give you clearance to participate in certain activities. And if getting to the gym is a challenge, look into at-home workout programs or workout DVDs. With a little creativity and effort, you can find ways to stay active at any age.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed!
How to Find A Gym for Seniors?
The Age-Friendly Facilities and Services Locator from AARP and the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) makes it easy to find a gym that is tailored to seniors’ needs. By simply typing in your zip code or choosing the type of facility you are looking for in the drop-down box, selecting your state and city, and clicking the ‘search’ button, you will see a variety of gym options.
As an extra plus, the locator employs icons to assist you in determining whether the gym is a good fit for your level of exercise. Check the “Getting Started” indicator next to the senior fitness facility if you’re getting started with exercise. Or you can check the yellow “Athlete” icon too. This is helpful if you routinely participate in contests or strenuous recreational activities.
Super Friendly Fitness Classes for Seniors
The Age-Friendly Facilities and Services Locator is the most convenient way to locate a local senior gym. Still, there are other senior fitness programs to consider. Some of the best fitness classes for seniors include:
1. Silver Sneakers
Silver Sneakers, which AARP also created, is one of the most well-known and on-demand fitness classes for seniors in the market. You get free access to a vast network of fitness classes and gyms from this program.
EnhanceFitness is a program that offers “state-of-the-art, community health promotion programs designed especially for older adults.” The program is based on four key principles: safety, social interaction, individualized attention, and progressions. Classes typically last for 90 minutes and include a warm-up, aerobics, strength training, cool-down, and flexibility exercises. The program is offered at senior centers, community centers, faith-based organizations, and housing complexes. Participants can attend up to three times per week.
3. The Y’s Active Older Adults Program
This program is designed to help seniors stay fit and active. The program offers a range of exercise classes, including swimming, gentle pilates, chair yoga, and more. Classes are taught by certified instructors who have experience working with older adults. This program is not offered at all YMCAs, however, so be sure to check your local YMCA for availability.
Sometimes, finding senior exercise classes in your region can be difficult. As a result, you can consider launching your own senior fitness program. Consider establishing a senior-specific program at your place of worship, community center, or local gym. With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day, a workout program for seniors is sure to be popular.
What Are Some of the Exercises for Seniors At The Gym?
If you’re thinking of the kind of exercises seniors can do, look no further. Here is a brief idea of the best exercises and training for seniors at the gym:
1. Strength training for seniors
Strength training is a terrific way to build your muscles. But if you’re new to exercising, make sure you have a licensed fitness trainer or teacher present to keep an eye on you. Resistance bands are a fantastic alternative to lifting weights if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. You can execute these stretches with your own body weight and still reap the advantages of strength training.
2. Balance exercises for seniors
Balance exercises help improve balance and coordination, which can be beneficial in preventing falls. There are a variety of balance exercises that can be done at the gym, including standing on one foot, balancing on a BOSU ball, and stepping from side to side. Tai chi is also an excellent option with many health benefits including enhanced muscle strength and flexibility.
3. Aerobic exercises for seniors
By increasing your breathing and heart rate, aerobic senior exercise programs strengthen your heart rate and circulatory system. Walking or running on the treadmill at the gym is a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your cardiovascular health. Swimming or Zumba dancing are great options too, as they are low-impact and help to build muscle strength.
4. Flexibility exercises for seniors
Flexibility exercises are important for seniors as they help them perform simple everyday tasks like tying their shoes. These exercises also help improve flexibility, range of motion, and overall joint health. Luckily, most gyms and senior fitness centers offer yoga classes, which is one of the best flexibility workouts for older adults.
Many seniors enjoy staying active and fit, and thankfully, there are plenty of fitness classes available specifically tailored for them. Yoga, tai chi, and Pilates are all popular options that can help improve balance and flexibility. Low-impact cardio classes like Zumba or water aerobics are also great choices for those who want to stay active without putting too much strain on their bodies.
Whatever type of fitness class you choose, make sure to consult with your doctor beforehand to ensure it is the right choice for you.