Being a baby boomer, I am beginning to realize just how much I have neglected over the years to stay fit. Maybe I didn't eat all of the right things as I should have or opted to sit on the couch rather than getting up and doing something. Now that I am getting older, I am beginning to realize the importance of doing some type of exercise routine as I approach my senior years. You would think that if you started exercising when you were young, that you would still be exercising later in life. If not, you should begin again. As for me, I have never been consistent in exercising and now I am realizing just how important that really was even though I neglected to do so all those years ago. For older adults and seniors, some type of exercising is mandatory to staying healthy and independent. The National Institute of Health recommends four groups of exercises that will help you stay fit both physically and emotionally.
Strength exercises are recommended to build muscles and to increase your metabolism. Before doing strength exercises you need to know a few basic facts. You can affect your blood pressure if you hold your breath doing strengthening exercises. If you are using weights, avoid jerking motions. Use steady, smooth movements to bring the weights to the correct position. Don’t lock the joints in your arms and legs. Keeping them locked in a strained position can cause injury or pain. Breathe in as you relax, and out as you lift or push a weight. Fatigue and muscle soreness will occur after this kind of exercise is normal. If you experience exhaustion, painful muscle pulls, or sore joints, these are not normal.
An exercise that will strengthen your shoulder muscles is done with small weights. Sit in a chair with your back straight and keeping both your feet flat on the floor even with your shoulders. Raise both arms to your side, even with your shoulder. Hold that position for one second and slowly lower the arms to the side. Repeat this exercise eight to fifteen times. Rest, and then repeat the exercise. If you start this exercise without weights, you can add weights as you gain strength. Cans of soup make wonderful substitutions for weights and are easy to hold on to. Increase your weight by only one or two pounds at a time.
Balance exercises are used to help build leg muscles, and this helps to keep you from falling. Hip fractures caused by falling are the most common cause of admissions for seniors. Balance exercises will help you avoid these problems. A good program to follow is the practice of yoga. It focuses on concentration, balance, and meditation. It teaches you to listen to your body and adjust your exercise accordingly. In yoga, you can start at your own level and slowly build up to routines that are more difficult. Balance exercises can help you to stay independent longer by helping you avoid falling and the consequences of any fall.
Stretching exercises will give you more freedom of movement. This allows you to be more active in your senior years. Stretching alone will not improve strength or endurance.
Endurance exercises are any activity that increases your heart rate. It could be walking, jogging, biking, swimming, or even gardening. If it elevates your heart rate and breathing, you are doing an endurance exercise. Building up your endurance is very important. Start slowly, five minutes at a time, and build up as you become stronger and healthier.
How often should you exercise and how often? In the case of strength exercises, you should work all of your major muscle groups at least two times a week. Varying your routine will ensure that you don’t do the same muscle group two days in a row.
When working with weights, lift the minimum the first week and gradually build up weight and repetitions of the movement. You must challenge your muscles to get stronger. As your body adapts to each new exercise you can gradually add weights in one to two pound increments.
When lifting weights, lift or push the weight into place and hold it for one second, then use three minutes to lower the weight. Don’t let the weight drop, for maximum benefit; you should lower the weight slowly. If you are using weights and find that doing fifteen in a row are too many for you, reduce the repetitions, and build up gradually. If you are easily doing fifteen repetitions, then you need to increase the weight. Increase weight not repetitions for the most benefit. Continue to stretch your muscles as you wait to do the next set of repetitions.
It isn’t too late to start exercising and you will feel better! Maybe I did spend too much time over the years sitting on the couch and eating all the wrong things. I am now learning my lesson! Time is wasting . . . It is time to get off the couch baby boomers and start exercising!
Geri Stogsdill is a freelance writer specializing in healthy lifestyle information. For more healthy recipe as well as dieting, fitness and healthy living tips, visit us at http://www.healthy4liferecipes.com/healthyrecipes.blog