Four Essential Components to an Effective Senior Fitness
As you put together your senior fitness regimen,
you should stop and check if there's anything you're missing.
Neglecting one area of your program can have negative affects on the
other components. Take a look at the areas below to make sure you're
getting the most out of your exercise program.
Cardio should be the foundation of a good senior exercise program. In
addition to helping keep your heart healthy, cardiovascular exercise
can also benefit your bones, joints, and brain.
Basically, cardio exercise involves doing an activity that gets your
heart pumping at an elevated rate for a prolonged amount of time. It
doesn't have to be incredibly taxing. Instead, concern yourself with
how often you train and for how long. Try to get a half hour or more
most days of the week.
The most popular forms of cardio are walking, biking, and swimming.
You can also use machines like a treadmill, stationary bike, or rower.
As your heart gets in better shape, you will start notice you have
more energy, and the tasks of daily life will become a bit easier.
You can still get stronger at any age, and you don't have to lift
enormous amounts of weight to do it. Instead, try using a four-pound
dumbbell, a rubber band, or weight machines at a health club. The most
important thing to remember is to not hold your breath. Breathe
normally. Control the motion in both directions, and don't use a
weight that is too heavy.
Strength training should be done two to three times per week, but not
two days in a row. Aim for about ten exercises and do each one for
fifteen reps. When you train in this manner, your muscles break down
and then rebuild themselves stronger, which makes the things you have
to lift in daily life seem lighter.
Balance training is probably the most neglected aspect of senior
fitness. Good balance helps you control your newly strengthened
muscles in an agile manner. Your sense of balance will deteriorate as
you age if you don't use it enough. Incorporating balance exercises
into your exercise program can help slow or reverse this process.
You should do balance exercises as often as possible, but you only
need to spend about ten minutes each day doing them. Typically, you
would do several different exercises for a minute each. Balance
training can be done at home or at the health club at any time of the
Stretching is another overlooked aspect of senior fitness. The
tightness or looseness of the surrounding muscles determines the range
of motion at a particular joint. A muscle can become over-tight from
too much or improper cardiovascular and strength training.
That's why it's such a good idea to stretch out after your workout.
You've just spent a long time repetitively contracting and shortening
your muscles. Stretching them out for a few minutes can help them
return to their normal length. Try to do a stretch for each muscle you
used. Gently ease into it to the point of mild discomfort and hold
there for at least thirty seconds.
Incorporating cardio training, strength training, balance exercises,
and flexibility gives you the best chance of keeping your body in
About the Author:
Have you noticed a decrease in the
quality of your balance? You can slow or stop this process by doing
Mike Ross is an author, lecturer, and certified personal trainer who
His book, The Balance Manual, shows seniors how to train their
Additional Information and
webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed
Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate