When you think of fitness, you probably think of a chiseled physique with throbbing veins and skin glistening with sweat ready to conquer the world.
This image is likely of a young person, perhaps somewhere in their 20s or early 30s.
While it is true that the human body tends to peak around our late 20s/early 30s, it doesn’t mean that being fit completely ceases after this.
Fitness can and should be maintained after the proverbial “hump”, even all the way into our golden years.
There are enough examples of senior citizens whose mindful approach towards health and fitness has allowed them to continue on a path that even puts people half their age to shame.
According to scientific study, good quality exercise can roll back 30 years off your physiological age
But fitness in our older years isn’t just possible, it’s actually very important
Why Training is Good for seniors and the Elderly
Fitness is for everybody, even those of us older, and maybe even more so.
That’s because fitness helps maintain the optimal form and function of the body.
This form and function gradually decline after a certain age. So in order to slow this decline and even reverse it in certain aspects, fitness is essential.
When our health and physiological faculties decline with age, we also begin to lose the independence we grew accustomed to as adults.
This can be morally degrading for some. As older people lose their sense of independence, they may begin to feel ashamed and also feel as though the are a burden on the ones they love.
Most of us will reach a stage where we need to rely on caregivers, but in order for that to happen only when absolutely necessary, fitness is the key.
This article will delve into some awesome exercises that can be performed by seniors for a good mindful approach to maintain fitness and vigor.
But first, we need to just run through some obvious risks that come with training as an older person
Contraindications of Training When older
Contraindications are things that make doing something a bad idea or at least make it necessary to proceed with some degree of caution. When training as an older person, here are a few to look out for.
Irregular heart rhythm
Limited range of motion
With these in mind, always get clearance from a doctor before you begin any workouts.
General considerations for training intensity include that the exercises for senior or elderly people should not produce a heavy impact or be at a significantly higher intensity.
Try to follow these guidelines
Intensity: low to medium
Rest: no more than 2mins between sets
Rep range: 4 sets of 10 reps each (60 seconds on for mountain climbers)
10 minute stretch at the end
6 Amazing Exercises for Senior Fitness
Hanging Leg Raises
This is good for core conditioning, which obviously counts well towards good functional fitness.
To perform, simply hang from a pull-up bar and raise your legs.
Try to get your knees up to your navel for full core activation.
You would typically keep your knees bent through the movement, but straightening the legs definitely adds a unique and worthy challenge.
A simple yet effective compound movement that activates most of your lower body and midsection.
Go into a foot hip-width apart stance and with a neutral spine, squat down until your knees are bent just past 90 degrees.
Lift up gradually from here and repeat to complete the rep range.
The push-up is a tried and trusted full-body activator. A real head to toe blaster, but with the benefit of low impact training.
Simply start in a high plank with hands pointing forward and elbows pointing backward.
Flex the elbows to gradually lower yourself until your chest touches the ground.
At this point push back up to complete one rep.
The tricep dip is a great upper body compound workout, targeting the triceps and lower chest region.
This one is great for seniors who use walking aids as well.
To perform, grip two parallel rails, one in each hand. The rails must be high enough off the ground that you can suspend yourself in the air with knees bent.
From here you basically perform a gradual lowering and pushing up to complete one rep
Mountain climbers are a great core stabilizer that also combines the effects of a decent cardio exercise.
Simply position yourself in a high plank with hands on a slightly raised platform.
From here, begin rapid alternating steps raising your knees to your chest as if you were running up a hill.
Do this for 60 seconds to top off your workout with a great cardio burn
While training intensity and athletic performance goals generally aren’t as lofty for seniors, the benefits of a good training effect are just as important as with anyone else.
Fitness is essential for health and wellbeing, no matter how old you are, and maybe especially the older you are.
If you are a senior and looking to add exercise to your health plan, always consult a doctor first and get the required medical clearance.