To Get You Started

As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others.

Not doing any physical activity can be bad for you, no matter your age or health condition. Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do.

An inactive lifestyle can cause older people to lose ground in four areas that are important for staying healthy and independent: strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. But research suggests that exercise and physical activity can help older people maintain or partly restore these four areas.

If you make exercise a regular part of your daily routine, it will have a positive impact on your quality of life as you get older. A chair exercise program such as the Stronger Seniors series will be in important steps towards greater health and indepenence.

The Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise program was created with safety as the highest priority. While exercise and nutrition are important to the overall health of seniors, we do not want to injure ourselves in the process.  Here are some fitness tips to help our community get the most out of the program:

    * Start slowly, especially if you haven’t been active for a long time. Little by little build up your activities and how hard you work at them.
    * Don’t hold your breath during strength exercises. That could cause changes in your blood pressure. It may seem strange at first, but you should breathe out as you lift something, and breathe in as you relax.
    * Use safety equipment. For example, wear a helmet for bike riding or the right shoes for walking or jogging.
    * Unless your doctor has asked you to limit fluids, be sure to drink plenty when you are doing activities. Many older adults don’t feel thirsty even if their body needs fluids.
    * Always bend forward from the hips, not the waist. If you keep your back straight, you’re probably bending the right way. If your back “humps,” that’s probably wrong, especially if you are suffering from Kyphosis (forward rounding of your upper back).
    * Warm up your muscles before you stretch. Try walking and light arm pumping first.

Learn more about Stronger Seniors DVD Programs

Exercise should not cause pain or make you feel really tired. You might feel some soreness, a little discomfort, or a bit weary, but you should not feel pain. In fact, in many ways, being active will probably make you feel better.

Older adults who have found a way to weave exercise into their lives have lowered their risk for serious health conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, poor digestion and obesity.

Not only does it stave off health problems, but exercise actually adds independence and confidence to your life. There are many positive outcomes including flexibility and posture, help with balance, increased strength, coordination and reduction of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis and helps older adults maintain or lose weight because it revs up the metabolism and increases muscle mass as it helps to burn more calories.

Many benefits of exercise aren’t just physical. Exercise aids your sleep by helping you to fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply and awaken less often during the night.

It’s a mood booster, too! Endorphins produced by exercise reduce feelings of sadness or depression. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident and self-assured. This improved sense of well-being enhances your overall mood and
attitude about life.

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