Senior Fitness Tips: Tai Chi, Water Aerobics and a Key to Longevity
As we move through adulthood, many of us lose track of our exercise habits due to a hectic work life, the responsibility of raising children or the pain of a nagging injury. While fitness has a huge impact on health at every age, consistent exercise is particularly vital to senior wellness and longevity – like the old adage says, you either use it or lose it. Here’s a rundown on a few different workouts you can do to improve mood, flexibility, balance, strength and aerobic health.
Tai Chi for Seniors: Find Your Center
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art – but don’t worry, you won’t have to spar to reap the benefits. It’s a proven workout routine with roots in Taoist and Buddhist monasteries where monks practiced the “boundless fist” technique. While it can be used for self-defense, tai chi is best described as a form of moving meditation. And as a low-impact exercise, it won’t put much stress on your muscles and joints, making it an effective workout for people of all ages.
Tai chi has been shown to improve balance and flexibility, reducing the risk of falls in older adults. It gives seniors an energy boost, improving their stamina and muscular strength while reducing blood pressure and improving heart health. Tai chi also has a number of spiritual benefits – practitioners report a better mood and lower levels of depression, stress and anxiety. Follow this link for a handy list of seven basic tai chi exercises for seniors to help you get started.
Hop in the Pool
Like tai chi, water aerobics is a low-impact workout that’s safe for folks with arthritis or other inflammatory joint issues. Better yet, working out in a pool virtually eliminates any chance of injury – after all, you can’t fall if you float. Experts recommend doing water aerobics as a supplement to your regular exercise routine. The weightless feeling you get while swimming speeds recovery by taking pressure off your aching muscles and joints.
While it reduces the impact on your body, water aerobics is still a real workout. Underwater exercise burns more calories than a workout on dry land for one very simple reason – water resistance. The average 30-minute water workout burns around 300 calories. Get in the pool a few times a week, and you’ll be well on your way to better heart health and weight loss that lasts.
Other Senior Fitness Workouts and Longevity Resources
Structured exercise routines like tai chi or water aerobics are great for building strong foundational fitness. Of course, life has a way of disrupting our workout routines, so here are some quick things you can do to stay in motion:
- Try some squats. Stand over a sturdy chair, then gradually bend your knees until you’re in a near-sitting position. Hold this position before returning to a standing position. Repeat for two sets of 10 repetitions to build and maintain lower body and core strength.
- Reach for the sky. Simply raising your arms above your head can keep you spry and strong. Try adding some light handheld weights if you can – they’ll help you maintain a good level of upper body strength that can help protect you from dangerous falls.
- Get a leg up. We mean that literally – standing on one leg benefits your balance and joint strength. Support yourself with a chair as you practice balancing on one foot. Lift each leg to the side, front and back, performing each motion for two sets of 10 repetitions.
No matter what exercise you prefer, getting up and moving is the most important thing you can do to improve your health. Regular workouts can increase bone density, reduce your risk of falls and cardiovascular issues, cut down the risk of dementia, and alleviate the symptoms of diseases like arthritis and diabetes.
Senior Health at Rolling Green Village
At Rolling Green Village, we take senior health and wellness seriously – so seriously that we’ve built a 33,000-square-foot fitness center for our residents. With a bevy of exercise classes led by our dedicated, full-time fitness staff, we’ve got what it takes to boost older adults’ longevity, happiness and health. Follow this link to learn more about our senior fitness and wellness programs at Rolling Green Village.