Staying active is an important part of aging. Exercise not only helps protect us from disease by working to control things like blood pressure, cholesterol and weight, but it also offers us a chance to add quality years to our life (ACE, 2013). Regular activity maintains muscle conditioning which plays a major role in balance and is a great way to take care of our emotional health by combating symptoms of depression. But before beginning any fitness program, it’s important to speak with your doctor. If he or she has cleared you to begin an exercise program, it’s best to start slowly.
Exercises that focus on core strength are a great way to enhance basic functional movement. Choosing activities that appeal to you will help you stick with it over time. Some of the more popular core conditioning exercises include:
• Swimming or Aqua Aerobics
But whether you choose individual or group exercise, working with an ACE fitness professional specially training in senior health is a great place to start. Certified professionals are best suited for devising safe and effective programs that take into account an individual’s existing medical conditions. Other considerations to keep in mind include:
• Avoid exercising in extreme temperatures
• Use slow and controlled movements
• For those with lower bone density, it’s best to avoid forward spinal flexion, especially greater than 45 degrees, as it may put you at increased risk for fractures (IDEA, 2013)
• Stay well hydrated
• Avoid inverted positions or those which place your head below your heart to help minimize dramatic shifts in blood pressure.
As you exercise, it’s important to pay close attention to your body and be aware of potential danger signs such as pain or pressure in your chest, arms, neck or jaw; feeling lightheaded, weak or nauseated; becoming short of breath; developing pain in your legs, calves or back; or feeling like your heart is beating too fast or skipping beats (ACE, 2013). If you do experience any of these symptoms, it’s advised you stop the activity and call your medical provider or 911 immediately.
Regular physical activity is an essential component to lower risk of disease and extend our quality of life. The key is to make certain that it’s done in a safe manner to help you enjoy the benefits for years to come.
American Council on Exercise (ACE), ACE Fit Facts: Active Seniors Enjoy Life More. Retrieved 11/07/2013, http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy_living_fit_facts_content.aspx?itemid=2
IDEA Health and Fitness Association (IDEA), Modifying Pilates For Clients With Osteoporosis. Retrieved 11/07/2013,