It can be hard to maintain fitness at any age. But physical activity is even more important for aging adults to combat frailty and maintain independence. Our experts are here to discuss fitness solutions for you.
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Solutions for Staying Active
TherHab fitness is designed and led by physical therapists. The virtual fitness program is designed to keep aging adults active and promotes independence. You begin with a virtual assessment with a physical therapist who can evaluate and recommend the right program for you.
We can help you choose the best solution for you.
7 Tips to Help Older Adults Stay Active
A recent national survey conducted for the Home Instead® network found that 74% of adults 65 and older say that staying physically active is a major challenge. While it may be challenging, staying active is important in preventing health conditions and frailty, a condition that can threaten your mind, body, independence, and social life. In addition to reducing the risk of frailty, physical activity is also good for brain health. Researchers are learning that 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can reduce an individual's risk of developing dementia.
Stephanie Studenski, M.D., M.P.H., one of the nation's foremost authorities and researchers of mobility, balance disorders, and falls in older adults, at the University of Pittsburgh Institute on Aging, says that frailty can be both prevented and reversed by activity.
"One of the core ideas in aging is that there are underlying problems in the body's self-correcting mechanism. For example, when a young person is bleeding, the body self-corrects by increasing the heart rate. But older adults, because of medication or health problems, may have lost the ability to self-correct by being able to increase their heart rate. Through activity, though, seniors can build both physical and mental reserves that can help their body better tolerate problems that come with aging."
Try some of these ideas to incorporate physical activity into your everyday life:
Use a pedometer to hit a step goal
Studies have shown that people who use pedometers increase their physical activity 26.9%. There are a variety of pedometers and step-tracking wearable devices available—you can even add a step counter app to your smart phone. Find one that works for you and challenge yourself to hit your step goal every day.
Join exercise classes or walking clubs
Fitness can be more fun when you do it with others. Community centers often have exercise classes geared toward older adults From yoga to line dancing, find a class (or two) you enjoy and make it a weekly habit.
Use fitness videos or online classes
If you don’t enjoy or can’t attend in-person classes, try following along to exercise videos on DVD, Youtube, or Netflix. You can switch up the type of classes with a wide selection available to you online. You can also check if your health plan includes any fitness programs designed for older adults. For example, many Medicare Advantage plans provide access to Silver Sneakers.
Hire a personal trainer
Personal trainers can help you create a customized exercise regimen to accommodate specific needs, whether it’s arthritis or recent surgery.
Focus on flexibility and balance
Improving your balance and flexibility has been shown to reduce your risk of falls. Stretching, yoga, and other simple chair exercises can help improve your flexibility and balance.
Utilize household items
You don’t have to spend a lot of money investing in workout equipment to break a sweat. You can use household items such as soup cans as weights and areas of your home such as the stairs (with sturdy handrails). Walking outdoors is always free and a great way to enjoy the benefits of being in nature.
Find an accountability partner
Ask a friend or family member to help keep you accountable to your fitness goals. You can also exercise along with them and challenge one another. A little healthy competition can be very motivating.
In a very real way, integrating physical, mental, and social activities in your life helps to ward off frailty and stay healthy. Before starting a new exercise routine, be sure to consult with your medical professional. You may need to ease into it and gradually increase your amount of exercise over time.