Senior Fitness Resource Guide for Making Exercise Fun

In this article...
  • Getting older doesn't mean you have to become less active. Discover the benefits of regular exercise for vitality, longevity and living your best life.

It doesn't matter how old you are, whether you've never picked up a dumbbell or if you've got health concerns, moving your body is one of the healthiest things you can do. Don't worry, though, you don't need to join the gym or go for 10-mile runs to get fit. The best activities to do are the ones that make you feel good but also like you've worked hard and achieved a goal. 

In this senior fitness resource guide, we outline the reasons why it's important to stay active and offer advice to help you find the form of movement that works best for you.  

Five Reasons to Use a Senior Fitness Resource Guide

Everyone can benefit from exercising on a regular basis. The human body was made to move, and below are some of the ways keeping fit can improve your life.

Maintain Muscle Mass

There's a saying in the fitness world, "move it or lose it," which relates specifically to muscle mass. As humans age, lean body mass naturally declines, and it's harder to build back up. However, maintaining a healthy amount of muscle is the best way to prevent falls and remain independent for as long as possible.

Look Good and Make Friends

Exercise promotes weight loss and muscle gain, which gives you a trimmer silhouette and helps your clothes fit nicely. It also provides an opportunity to meet new people and find like-minded friends.

Reduce the Risk of Certain Diseases

When you exercise, the heart is forced to pump harder to send oxygen around the body. Just like any other muscle, pushing the heart within its limits on a regular basis builds its strength. In turn, blood pressure and bad cholesterol lowers and good cholesterol is increased. Movement also triggers the release of hormones that regulate brain function, sleep, mood and libido. 

What If You Can't Stand Exercise?

A senior fitness resource guide might sound like a terrible thing to people who don't have a good relationship with exercise, but there's truly something for everyone. One of the best ways to choose the best form of movement for you is to think about what type of sport or activity you think looks really fun and exciting. 

Whatever you choose, even if it's something as advanced as acrobatics or martial arts, there's an entry-point to everything. Many older adults find that dancing, tai chi and yoga makes them feel great and move in ways they never thought possible! And you can even take part in these types of activities while sitting down or bedbound. Be creative and focus on enjoyment to get the best out of exercise.

How to Find Fitness Classes in Your Local Community

The International Council on Active Aging is a great resource for seniors who want to catch the fitness bug. In addition to information about places to walk, health and lifestyle tips and information guides, you'll find an interactive map with fitness centers, community services, fitness ambassadors, recreation centers and YMCA centers in your local area.

The Best Exercises Older Adults Can Do at Home

Exercise classes are now available online in many fitness centers, so you don't even need to leave the comfort of home to get a top-notch workout in. 

Over 60

 

  • Resistance band workouts are a great choice for older adults looking to add a more of a challenge than simple bodyweight exercises
  • Pilates develops core strength, improves balance and increases flexibility but shouldn't strain your body
  • Strength training with light dumbbells is the perfect workout option for those over 60 who already have a passion for movement. 

Over 70

 

  • Walking is an exceptionally effective exercise for people of any age because it burns calories without pushing up cortisol levels or putting strain on the heart.
  • Chair yoga is ideal for people who can't stand up or find standing up for long periods uncomfortable but still want to improve range of motion and flexibility.
  • Use the stairs to do step-ups, which means stepping up onto the first step in your staircase with your right foot, coming back down and swapping to the other foot. Repeat 10 times per day on each foot, and you'll improve your cardiovascular health and balance while maintaining the muscles in your legs and glutes.

Over 80

 

  • Wall push ups are a great way to keep your upper body fit and healthy without straining .
  • Chair squats are a simple but smart way to strengthen the muscles you use to sit down and stand back up. Simply sit down in your chair and get up again, and try not to use your hands.
  • Calf raises are a highly effective exercise for strengthening the ankles and legs. Go up onto your tiptoes, hold for two seconds and release.

Initiatives to Take Advantage Of

A senior fitness resource guide wouldn't be complete without a list of the best initiatives to help older adults stay fit. Below are some links you can follow to get started on your fitness journey, no matter how much of a beginner or pro you are:

  • Active Choices: This six month program helps older adults add exercise into their daily lives. Staff and volunteers offer support by telephone, mail and online.
  • Active Living Every Day: For some people, the most practical and enjoyable way to get fit is through simple behavior change. This initiative shows you how to be more active day-to-day.
  • AEA Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program: Water aerobics are fantastic because water provides resistance while supporting joint health.
  • Enhance Fitness: There are more than 500 locations where older adults can take part in fitness classes led by certified instructors.
  • Geri-Fit: If you like the sound of strength training for managing health, this is the place for you. 
  • NCOA: The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit that aims to improve the quality of life for older adults in the United States.
  • Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention: One of the biggest risks for older adults is falling. This Eastern-inspired class builds confidence while helping you build strength and balance.
  • SilverSneakers: SilverSneakers is an incredible free initiative that offers access to more than 14,000 gyms throughout the country. 
  • Walk with Ease: This six-week walking program is a group session with a 10- to 40-minute walk and an informative chat about movement and arthritis. 

YMCA: The Y has been helping people stay fit and active for almost 200 years. Take advantage of the specialty programs for seniors, meet new friends and improve your quality of life.