Staying physically active comes with a whole host of health benefits for older adults from maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and joints to potentially helping to reduce high blood pressure, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Older adults can obtain significant health benefits with a moderate amount of physical activity, preferably daily,” according to the CDC.
However, the CDC also notes that those beginning to exercise for the first time should start slowly. And some exercises may be better suited for older adults than others.
Dr. Barbara Bergin told SilverSneakers that she recommends older adults focus workouts meant to build strength and improve balance rather than high-impact exercises like running.
Some of the best exercises for older adults include:
Swimming: While it may not be as readily available amid social distancing efforts, swimming can be an ideal exercise option in many ways. It’s a good cardiovascular workout while also being low impact for joints and bones.
Yoga: Doing yoga can help with core strength, balance and building muscle. Yoga can not only be good for your physical health, but can improve general wellness by relieving stress and improving emotional health, sleep and balance, the National Institute of Health notes.
You don’t have to pay big bucks or leave your home to do yoga. Just put on something comfortable and pull up YouTube. Some popular channels include Yoga With Adrienne, Yoga By Candace and Body Positive Yoga.
Walking: One of the easiest exercises to start, especially right now amid social distancing, is simply getting outside for a walk or a hike.
Cycling: Similar to swimming, cycling offers a low-impact workout option. It can also help with cardiovascular health. This can be true either on a bike ride outside or on an indoor stationary bike.
Bodyweight workouts: Dr. Victoria Shin told SilverSneakers that simple bodyweight exercises like chair squats, wall pushups or stair climbing can be an effective and affordable way to maintain healthy muscles and prevent weight gain as you age.