Regular exercise can keep you fit and help you stay independent as you age. Other benefits may include faster recovery from illness, reduced risk of chronic disease and better management of existing medical problems such as osteoarthritis.
Here are some tips for staying active in your senior years.
Note: Always stop and seek medical advice if you experience chest pain, extreme breathlessness or dizziness.
- Choose activities you find interesting and manageable. You are more likely to stick to an exercise routine if it’s fun.
- Check with your doctor before you start a new exercise routine. Some activities may not be appropriate if you have been sedentary for a long time or suffer from obesity or a chronic illness.
- Start slowly and aim for small improvements. Be guided by your doctor about how long and how frequently to exercise. Keep track of your progress in a training diary for added motivation.
- Make exercise a social event. Invite friends along or sign up for a class so you can meet new people while getting fit.
- Improve your flexibility. Suggestions include yoga, stretching exercises, lawn bowls or dancing.
- Build muscle tissue with strength training. For example, you could lift weights or perform a modified form of calisthenics.
- Look after your bones. Weight-bearing exercise can reduce your risk of bone loss and osteoporosis as you age.
- Improve your heart and lung fitness. Opt for moderate intensity exercise for maximum benefit. As a general rule, aim for activity that means you breathe hard but are not left feeling breathless.
- Reduce your risk of falls. Include some balance and coordination exercises in your weekly exercise routine. Good options include tai chi, balancing on one leg and heel to toe stands.
- Build exercise into your daily routine. Walk to the shops or bus, spend more time in the garden or offer to walk a neighbour’s dog.
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