How to Get Started in a Senior Fitness ProgramExercise & Fitness, Nutrition | June 20, 2017
The older you get, the harder it tends to be to stay physically active. Seniors can have a wide range of excuses for not exercising, too. Maybe you’ve got arthritis, and high impact workouts are too hard on your joints. Or, you might suffer from lower back pain that makes it difficult to move freely. It’s also possible you feel like there’s simply not enough time in the day to exercise with all the errands you need to run, the activities you’ve scheduled, and so on.
Most often, though, older adults recognize there are some definite benefits to living a physically active lifestyle. Exercise is proven to reduce some of the chronic aches and pains seniors experience, plus it helps boost your mood and can even improve your memory. However, the thought of joining a gym might be intimidating, or you aren’t sure how to find senior fitness programs in your area. But, it really only takes a little research to find some senior exercise classes that can meet your needs.
Finding Senior Exercise Classes
Staying active in your later years is key to preserving your independence. Recently, the AARP teamed up with the International Council on Active Aging to provide a simple way for older adults to find senior fitness programs and exercise classes near them by utilizing their Age-Friendly Facilities and Services locator. Simply click on your state, then find your city and you’ll receive a list of gyms, fitness centers and programs designed just for the older crowd.
Once you’ve found a senior fitness program that interests you, it’s time to lace up your sneakers and get active! However, it’s also important to take a few precautions, especially if you’re just starting to exercise after taking the last few years off.
Starting Your Senior Fitness Program
A few tips to have you on your way to an active, more independent lifestyle include:
Consult your physician first. Before starting any senior exercise classes or activities, schedule a visit with your doctor for a checkup. Tell the physician your plans of getting physically active and discuss any possible conditions that may prohibit your progress, like heart conditions, joint problems, any medications you’re currently taking, etc.
Set your fitness goals. Clearly define what it is you would like to accomplish by exercising. Don’t just say, “I want to lose some weight,” instead say “I would like to drop 20 pounds, or lose five inches off my waist.” You can also make it your goal to simply walk a mile in 15 minutes, or climb two flights of stairs without getting winded. Having specific goals in mind will help you feel that much more accomplished when you reach them.
Find an activity you enjoy. If you hate running and jogging hurts your knees, it’s not realistic to think this will be a type of exercise you’ll grow to enjoy. Maybe walking is more your style, or swimming, which is actually one of the best exercises for seniors, as it’s an aerobic workout that puts no pressure on your joints. Try a few different exercise classes, like yoga or Zumba, until you find an activity you’ll look forward to adding to your daily routine.
Pace yourself. You might be excited to get started exercising and jump headfirst into the program you’ve chosen. However, it’s important to take it slowly at first and know your limits. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day, which can be easily broken up into ten minute increments until you’ve built up some strength and stamina.
ASC’s Senior Fitness Program – New Energy Wellness
At American Senior Communities, our New Energy Wellness program is designed with seniors’ unique fitness needs in mind. We utilize research based on proven results to develop a strength-building program for individuals age 50 and older to enjoy healthier, more active lifestyles. Offered to both residents and members of the local community, you’ll build balance, vigor and ability in your everyday life. Plus, our Health Promotion Coordinators will work with you and your physician to design a customized senior fitness program and will also supervise, assist and motivate you to keep your goals.
To join our senior fitness program or to request more information, find a location near you today.