People entering their senior years have many reasons to remain active — in fact, they may have more reasons to continue with or start a new physical activity regimen than individuals much younger than them. That’s because people over age 60 face a number of unique health problems that may be prevented or alleviated through regular physical exercise. Much of this involves the deterioration of muscle mass and the joints as we get older, leading to conditions like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Additionally, physical activity can help keep the mind sharp and may prevent or significantly delay the development of dementia and other cognitive issues.
The good news: it doesn’t have to be the most intense physical activity; generally, it requires only that workouts involve some movement of the bones, muscles, and joints. Now, let’s take a closer look at some activities that can help make a difference in your life.
One of the most effective exercises for seniors is also one of the most simple: walking. Walking, particularly prolonged walking exercises and hikes, can help build cardiovascular stamina, improve the functionality of muscles in your legs, and may help prevent the onset of bone and joint problems like arthritis. It also presents few problematic side effects since it’s considerably less intense than running or playing a sport.
For best results, try making your walks regular and part of a group activity. Consider challenging your friends to a step challenge, using a fitness tracker or simple pedometer to track your steps. You can also invite your friends to join you on your walks, giving you an opportunity to engage in conversation that can work towards keeping the mind sharp.