Exercising in your senior years

Now with the warmer weather we are seeing many residents pack away their winter woollies and start focusing on staying as fit and healthy as possible, which for most seniors is about regular, moderate exercise.

Ingenia Care General Manager, Janene Eagleton said, it’s important to chat with your doctor before taking up any exercise that gets the heart rate up and firing the muscles.

“In general though, if you follow the rule of starting slowly and listening to your body, then most low-impact exercises should be safe to do without putting too much pressure on aging joints.

“And there are plenty of exercises to choose from. The key is to find an exercise that you enjoy, join with a few friends and stay active.

“You should try to fit in a total of at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day. You don’t even need to do the 30 minutes all in one hit – 10 minutes three times a day will still do the trick,” Janene said. Here are some ways to stay active:

Probably the simplest, cheapest and most social of all activities, all you need is a pair of comfortable shoes with plenty of support, and away you go. Setting up a walking group is always a good idea, as its social and reduces the chances of skipping a day.

Swimming and water-activity:
Lap-swimming is the most popular exercise, however it’s not for everyone, and that’s where water-walking and running, kick-boarding and organised aqua aerobics come in. All are great forms of exercise due to the combined effect of water pressure and coolness on muscles.

Tai Chi and yoga:
Whether you join a specific yoga or tai chi class, buy some dvds or just check out the plethora of instructional videos online (YouTube has thousands), ‘postural’
exercises pretty much tick all four of the Department of Health’s boxes: fitness, strength, balance and flexibility, with the added bonus of including meditative
elements for mental wellbeing.

Housework and gardening:
Yes, we know that most Ingenia Lifestyle residents have chosen our communities to escape housework and gardening, but for those who are still inclined to enjoy
cleaning and pottering in the garden, you’ll be pleased to know that these can still be counted towards your daily exercise if they get your heart rate up.

Stretching and recovery:
After any exercise, it’s important to spend time cooling down and stretching. In yoga, tai chi and guided group exercise, this is usually incorporated in the activity, but if you’ve been for a walk, to the pool or out in the garden, don’t forget to bring the heart rate slowly back to normal, carefully stretch the muscles, and drink plenty of water.