If you’re a senior, this is why you should get moving

May 29 is National Senior Health & Fitness Day, and we asked Shawn Richardville, lead exercise specialist, Parkview Health and Fitness Center, to help us make the case for movement.

What are some of the best exercises for seniors?

Beginners should really start light. Walking and seated cardio machines are great options. Swimming pool activities are good if you experience joint pain. For strength training, start with elastic bands or hand and ankle weight exercises.

What makes these exercises great for seniors?

All of the options mentioned above are affordable. Walking can be done at no cost. Seated cardio machines and pool activities might require a small fee, but both are joint friendly. Another benefit with elastic bands, hand and ankle weights are that routines can be done mostly seated, which is great for those with limited mobility.

What are some of the specific benefits of movement for seniors?

Exercise is the best way to maintain and increase quality of life. Movement can be a natural medicine to many ailments. Strength training can trigger bone regeneration to help maintain/increase bone density. Cardio exercise strengthens the heart muscle and increases cardiovascular endurance.

Is there a social component to exercise for seniors?

Exercising in groups can help with motivation and accountability. I like to tell anyone that is retired that exercise is your new job. The hours are few and flexible, and the benefits are great.

What are some other things you recommend for seniors?

Join the Parkview Seniors Club. It’s a very small cost to receive senior related information and access to a lot of affordable events and activities.

What would you say to seniors who don’t think they can be active?

Being inactive is not as satisfying, physically or mentally. Grab a friend and visit a local fitness center to just take a tour and see what’s being offered. Try a senior group exercise class at least once, even if it is just to sit and watch. You may surprise yourself when you realize you can do most of the movements, if not all of them.


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