This is a reader supported Website. By clicking on product links, you help us keep producing independent objective analysis at no cost to you. Thanks for your support!
Exercise for Seniors: The Key to Fitness, Good Health and Long Life
Exercise, as you probably know can prevent health problems such as osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. This is true especially for seniors. With the right exercise, diet, workouts and equipment, you can reduce the risk of these problems.
“….inactivity contributes to premature death. Yet, why is it that so many people don’t exercise regularly? Lack of motivation usually tops the list. What will it take to get the masses moving?…”Chris Davies: More exercise, better diet lead to healthier life
This may especially true with seniors. First of all, what do we mean by “Seniors”, or “Senior Citizens”.
Are You ‘A Senior Citizen’?
The general definition is someone over age 60 or over age 65. Actually, the definition varies where someone is considered at ‘retirement age’. That too varies, from age 60 to age 65. Plus, it has a sort of honorific way of talking about an older person.
I am not a senior citizen, I’m just someone who still thinks he’s 35 but has grey hair, some fat in the wrong places and achy joints sometimes….As one mentor of mine, Robert Aitken, said, “It’s like having an old friend and stuff just doesn’t work the way it used to.” He said that well after he passed age 70.
Definition of Senior Citizen
Wikipedia goes into a lot more detail about it. It notes that there are different age subgroups. As it notes:
Gerontologists have recognized the very different conditions that people experience as they grow older within the years defined as old age. In developed countries, most people in their 60s and early 70s are still fit, active, and able to care for themselves. However, after 75, they will become increasingly frail, a condition marked by serious mental and physical debilitation.
Therefore, rather than lumping together all people who have been defined as old, some gerontologists have recognized the diversity of old age by defining sub-groups. One study distinguishes the young old (60 to 69), the middle old (70 to 79), and the very old (80+).
Another study’s sub-grouping is young-old (65 to 74), middle-old (75–84), and oldest-old (85+). A third sub-grouping is “young old” (65–74), “old” (74–84), and “old-old” (85+). Delineating sub-groups in the 65+ population enables a more accurate portrayal of significant life changes.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_age#Senior_citizen
So, Can All Seniors Benefit from Exercise?
Yes, all seniors, even the elderly who have limited mobility and even cognitive impairment can benefit from exercise. One heartwarming article talks about a Wilson County, which bought over $150,000 of exercise equipment as part of an overall program to improve senior health through diet and exercise.
The benefits being to reduce the level of obesity in older adults. Fact is, as people get older, many become more sedentary, which results in fat buildup. Which results in less energy. Which results in more couch potato-ism….Not a good thing.
The more weight people gain, the less exercise they get, the lower their quality of life. It’s really that simple. So here is what this community did about this problem.
Wilson County seniors have new exercise equipment via Wilson County seniors have new exercise equipment
It’s heartwarming to see a community do right by its people to help their quality of life.
Types of Exercise Machines
Now, when we talk about the many types of exercise machines, let’s point out that there are various kinds of exercise aids. Some aids are not mechanical, such as exercise bands, ropes, jump ropes, free weights, dumbbells, barbells, and so on. These are all fine and I’ll cover them in another post.
For now, though, let’s consider the mechanical kinds of machines, especially the following that are designed for the whole body, including the cardio vascular system (breath and heart), as well as the muscles and joints, specifically the knees.
For knees, there are some types of exercise machines you’ll find mostly in a gym. Personally, I have found this leg extension machine puts too much stress on the joint, while others find them quite helpful.
However, you might want to buy one of these machines, or use them at a gym. They’re generally kind of hard on the knee joint. Read on to see some alternatives.
The Most Common Types of Exercise Machines
The Most Common Types of Exercise Machines that involve the knees (as well as the other parts of the body) are the following:
Elliptical trainers are very popular because they exercise both upper and lower body.
- Elliptical Trainers
- Rowing Machines
- Stationary Bicycles
- Recumbent Bicycles
- Riding Bicycles
Of course, riding bicycles is not only great exercise, but it has a dual purpose. When I am going about town, as long as it isn’t too far, why not take a bicycle? It saves gas, reduces pollution, gets your juices going, and just plain feels great!
However, it might not be possible in your area, due to traffic conditions or other factors, such as weather.
Exercising at Home vs the Gym
People have different ideas about this. Some prefer the convenience of working out at home, saving both transportation time, not to mention gym membership fees.
On the other hand, going to the gym gives you access to a lot more equipment and ‘stuff’ than you have space for, or money to purchase.
One of the great things I like about my gym is that it has a lot of choices of equipment plus all different dumbbells and barbells. It also includes various exercise classes, such as yoga or zumba or aerobics.
Another benefit, is that you meet new people that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. And those people are there to work out and improve their lives and their overall health and well-being. Whereas at home, it may be harder to set aside the time, since we get wrapped up in our daily activities, and our household member may or may not have interest.
Another disadvantage of working out at home is that equipment can run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Then again, there are workout routines you can do, even without weights.
Try, for example, committing yourself to doing a certain number of pushups, or squats, or abdominal exercises. Still, having exercise machines makes the routine more interesting and varied.
Best Exercise Equipment for Seniors via Best Exercise Equipment for Seniors
Personally, I find it useful and enjoyable to get out of the house to go exercise. My typical routine is as follows
- I ride my bicycle to the gym, which is about a 15 minute ride from my house.
- When I arrive, I climb the 4 flights of stairs (the gym is on the 4th floor of the local mall.) I usually ‘double step’, that is climb 2 steps at a time, which gets my heart pumping more, as well as exercises my glutes and hamstrings…not to mention saves a little electricity
- At the gym, I do a combination of exercises, some of which are just body weight, like push ups, chin ups, or abdominals like leg lifts or squats.
- For some exercises, I use dumbbells or barbells
- And for others, I will use the gym machines.
- Yoga is especially good for maintaining flexibility as well as sense of balance (for example, standing on one foot.)
If you have some familiarity with a gym, you can work out what is best for you. Or you can make use of trainers that can help you design a program that’s just right for you.
So whatever you do….do something…….we all started as weak little babies, it’s just that some of us decided to get stronger and other to be couch potatoes. Don’t be a couch potato:)
To get a free copy of my ebook, 26 DIY Knee Health Secrets, click on this link.