You need four types of exercise to stay healthy: endurance activities, muscle strengthening, flexibility, and balance exercises. Endurance exercise is anything that increases your breathing rate and gets your heart pumping. Muscle strengthening exercises also strengthen your bones. Flexibility activities make you more limber, and balance exercises help keep you steady on your feet.
That’s a big order to fill. Luckily, though, it’s easier than ever to start exercising, and you don’t have to leave the house to do it.
On one end of the at-home exercise spectrum you can find high-end, social-media enabled equipment. But for most people, it’s easier to pull up free exercise videos on TV or your computer.
Know the sponsor to ensure a safe exercise routine
Randomly browsing online for exercise videos carries the risk of stumbling upon something that looks easy but turns out to be unsafe or too difficult. Look for videos sponsored by federal, state, local governments; health-related websites such as WebMD; organizations for seniors such as AARP; or fitness-related non-profits such as YMCA. You are likely to find something safe and enjoyable.
A great place to start is the YouTube channel for the National Institute on Aging (NIA). There, you’ll find videos that are part of NIA’s Go4Life initiative, an exercise campaign specifically targeted for adults age 50 and up. Several videos are available that cover all 4 areas of essential activity, and the techniques are grounded in research. Better yet, no one is trying to sell you something.
The Go4Life series has videos as short as 10 minutes, and as long as 60 minutes. They include endurance activities; how to warm up and cool down; stretching; and strengthening for practically any part of the body.
Starting out slow is important. “You can’t risk overdoing it and feeling like you have to quit,” says Teresa Reymann-Curran, fitness manager at Charlestown, an Erickson Senior Living-managed community in Catonsville, Md.
Working on better balance is a great way to ease into an exercise plan, and any good series of videos for seniors should include balance techniques. “People tend to underestimate the importance of good balance,” Reymann-Curran says. “Being steady on your feet can help keep you safer as you go about your day and prevent falls.”
Keep your daily exercise short and sweet
Studies show that even 10 minutes of exercise improves your health. But it’s essential to avoid boredom. “Look for activities that fit your personality and keep you motivated,” Reymann-Curran says.
Surely you can spare 10 minutes. For more variety, head over to AARP’s website and type “exercise videos” into the search bar. You’ll find numerous topics such as easy ways to get fit at home; 10-minute balance techniques, and 10-minute versions of Zumba, chair yoga, and Pilates. Pick one, get started, and if it doesn’t seem interesting after a few minutes, try another one.
You can’t feel your heart, muscles, and bones getting stronger, but perhaps the best thing about exercise is how it can change your mood. “Exercise boosts energy and your sense of wellbeing,” Reymann-Curran says. “It’s the main ingredient for living a full and active life.”
Get fit with friends and fitness experts at Erickson Senior Living
Getting started with a fitness routine is the hardest part. At Erickson Senior Living communities, we have physical fitness experts on hand to provide advice, support, and training. Our local senior living communities provide an array of exercise equipment, classes, and trainings so that you can reach your fitness goals with fellow residents. Learn more about our independent living options and amenities today!