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Everyone needs to exercise, and this is especially important for older adults. As the body ages, it is more susceptible to things like broken bones, heart problems, and muscle weakness. For seniors, getting regular exercise can help keep blood pressure low, promote a strong and healthy heart, and even strengthen bones to help prevent serious injury. While exercising vigorously is not necessary, seniors should perform some mild form of exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes on no less than three days a week. Even a small amount of exercise can help older adults stay healthy and active.
Aerobic and endurance exercises help keep blood flowing and the heart pumping. Some of the benefits of this type of exercise include lower blood pressure, improved sleep, and a stronger heart. Aerobic exercise doesn’t have to be taxing. A brisk walk several times a week is a great way to get this form of exercise without it being too strenuous. Using a treadmill or stationary bike is also an effective way to do some endurance exercises. As you progress, light jogging can also be a good option, and so can walking while carrying a light weight of no more than three to five pounds. Join a group of friends to walk together so you stay motivated and have fun while exercising.
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A flexible body can help prevent injury in many ways. When you stretch your muscles, they get stronger and are able to resist tearing or sprains. Staying flexible can also help reduce your risk of falling, which is more prevalent in seniors. Simple arm and leg stretches every morning can help improve your overall flexibility. An easy chest-stretching exercise is also beneficial. Simply lift your arms up over your head and put your palms together, then stretch your arms while attempting to push your elbows backward toward the wall. Repeat this about three times between resting, and you’ll notice an improvement in your flexibility.
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You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to have strong muscles. Keeping muscles strong is important because it helps you perform everyday functions like carrying groceries and even getting dressed. This type of exercise should be done at least twice a week in order to keep your muscles conditioned. You can use small hand weights of about one to two pounds and do simple arm lifts to keep your arms strong. Knee lifts and balancing exercises are also good, simple ways to help improve strength in the body. Try to avoid doing anything too strenuous or overwhelming, and remember that strength improves over time, even with light to moderate exercise.
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When you are able to maintain good balance, it can help prevent dangerous falls and dizziness. As people age, their ability to balance while walking or standing can be diminished thanks to failing eyesight, poor posture, and a slower reaction time. Thankfully, there are some exercises you can do to help maintain and improve your ability to balance. A very simple method to improve balance is to walk at a fairly brisk pace while looking down at a piece of paper. This can help train the body and mind to work in sync in order to stay balanced. Take your time and practice this easy exercise as often as you can to keep your balance in check. Another good method is to stand behind a chair and lift one leg at a time while bracing with one hand. Stand on one foot for several seconds at a time, and then repeat with your other leg. Even just standing on one foot without a chair for several seconds at a time is a good way to help you stay balanced.
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