There is ample evidence indicating that regular exercise can have significant health benefits and that can go way beyond just losing weight. Exercise can lower the risk of diabetes, hypertension, decrease cholesterol levels, relieve stress, and, more importantly, can enhance the overall quality of life. For seniors who would like to become more active, there are many types of wellness programs. Before you decide on a wellness program for seniors, here are a few things you should consider.
Current guidelines recommend that you should perform at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day, five days a week, and that equates to about two and one-half hours a week. The key is to do the exercises regularly for all types of wellness programs. You can walk one hour every day for four or five days per week and that is adequate.
Walking Is A Great Activity
If you talk to 20 wellness experts and ask what exercises a senior should perform, you will most likely get 20 different answers. The internet is full of examples of wellness programs and types of exercises for seniors, and everyone touts their program as the best and most successful. In reality, there is no such thing as bad exercise, unless you are hurting a joint or muscle that is not in good shape; almost any exercise is better than no exercise. If you are just starting out, walking is as good an exercise as any other physical activity. You can walk briskly for 30-45 minutes a day at least 4-5 times a week. Walking has been shown to help reduce body weight, lower your blood sugar, lower high blood pressure, decrease your cholesterol, and nurture your mind. Most importantly, walking allows you to enjoy nature, it is a free activity, and the risk of complications or bodily injury is very rare.
Other types of exercises that seniors may like include swimming, dancing, aerobic classes, or cycling. If you are fit, you may even want to try lightweight training exercises. If you reside in an apartment or in an area where outdoor activity may not be possible, then you may want to invest in an exercise machine. This should be the last choice because indoor exercises can quickly become monotonous, and you can lose interest. When choosing a wellness exercise, select something you like; otherwise, you may not stick with it.
Should I Join A Wellness Program?
Today, there are many senior wellness programs in almost every city in North America. These may be run by the local communities, religious groups, the YMCA, schools, or a local sports facility. Most of the senior wellness programs are free and also offer a chance to meet other seniors and socialize. Unfortunately, senior wellness programs are not run every day of the week so you may want to continue with your own exercises at the same time. Cano Health specializes in senior care and that even offers some transportation assistance to help seniors get back and forth to the senior health wellness programs.
How Should I Get Started In A Wellness Program?
- You should consult your doctor before you start any exercise program, especially if you have any ailments at all. If you have not been physically active before, then the best advice is to first see your healthcare provider and get a general check-up. For example, if you have heart disease, you should not start an exercise program before being cleared by your doctor.
- The second thing is that no matter what exercise regimen you start, go slow in the beginning. Build up your physical activity routine over a few weeks or months. Immediately starting a vigorous exercise program or over-exercising can lead to injury, which may cause you to discontinue the program.
- Warm up your body’s muscles and joints by performing some stretching exercises before and after every activity. This will lower the risk of injury to your muscles.
- Always pay attention to your surroundings. If it is wet or icy, postpone the exercise for a day or two. If it is too hot, take some extra water with you to prevent dehydration. Finally, wear the appropriate garments and shoes for the activity.
- Make a friend. One of the best ways to enjoy wellness programs for seniors is to make a friend who has the same goal as you. This way you can motivate each other while enjoying each other’s company.
- Keep a log. If you are participating in a wellness program for seniors with a goal in mind, create a logbook. Keep track of when you exercise, the duration, and the type of activity. In addition, weigh yourself regularly and over time you will notice changes. While senior wellness programs have many immediate benefits, what many people do not know is that these benefits endure for a long time; wellness programs are an investment in your future. The sooner you start, the more benefits you will accumulate.
- Set realistic goals. To avoid unnecessary stress, enjoy the wellness program and achieve the desired results, set realistic goals. Review your goals regularly and make changes accordingly. For example, start walking 3,000 steps initially if you have not walked before and then gradually increase by 1,000 steps every several weeks. If you set a goal of 10,000 steps on the first day, you may tire out, get out of breath, and may not feel like walking again, plus you might put too much pressure on your joints. The key is to enjoy the exercise.
In addition to wellness programs for seniors, start becoming physically active in daily life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park the car far from your intended destination, walk to the corner grocery store, work in the garden, and walk the dog, just to name a few examples. Wellness programs are an investment in your future health; the earlier you start, the better quality of life you will have.