Workout Tips

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Find out about the benefits of each type of exercise and how you can use them to your advantage. NIA’s YouTube channel has workout videos and example exercises for some of these exercises.

People tend to be too focused on one type or activity, and don’t think they are doing enough. Research shows that you should do all four types: strength, endurance, balance, flexibility. Each has its unique benefits . You can also improve your ability and avoid injury by doing one type. You can find activities to suit your fitness level and needs, regardless of your age!

This page:

  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Flexibility

Exercises for seniors that increase endurance

Endurance exercises increase your heart rate and breathing. These activities can help you stay healthy, increase your fitness, and perform the daily tasks you need. Endurance exercises can improve your heart and circulatory system. They can also delay or prevent many common diseases in older adults, such as Diabetes, Colon and Breast Cancers, Heart Disease, and other. These physical activities build endurance:

  • Jogging or walking at a pace that is easy
  • Yard work (mowing, raking).
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Stairs or hills climbing
  • Basketball or tennis?

To keep up with grandchildren on a park trip, or to dance at a family wedding, increase your endurance and “staying power”. You can also rake the lawn and bag up leaves. At least 150 minutes of physical activity per week is a good goal. To reach this goal, be active every day and avoid sitting for prolonged periods.

Safety tips

  • To warm up and cool off, do a little light activity like walking before and after endurance activities.
  • Pay attention to your body. Endurance activities should not cause dizziness or chest pain, pressure, or heartburn.
  • Avoid sweating while doing any activity that causes you to lose fluids. Be sure to consult your doctor before you increase the fluids you consume while exercising if your doctor has advised you to do so.
  • Exercise outside – Be aware of your surroundings
  • Layers You can layer your clothes to adapt to hot or cold weather.
  • Use safety equipment such as helmets when bicycling to prevent injuries.

For older adults, strength exercises

Your muscular strength can make a big difference. Strong muscles make it easier to do everyday tasks like lifting heavy objects, getting up from a chair and climbing stairs. Your balance and prevention of fall-related injuries can be achieved by strengthening your muscles. Strong hip and leg muscles will make you less likely to fall. People call weight training to increase muscle strength “strengthtraining” or “resistancetraining”.

Some people use weightlifting to increase their strength. Start with lighter weights and then increase your weight gradually. Others use elastic bands or resistance bands. They come in different strengths. You can start out with a lighter band or without the band if you’re a beginner. You can easily do 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions with a heavier band. Do strength exercises for all major muscle groups at least two days per week. However, don’t do the same muscle group twice in a row. Here are some examples of strength exercises.

  • Lifting weights
  • Transporting groceries
  • Gripping a Tennis Ball
  • Overhead arm curl
  • Arm curls
  • Wall pushups
  • Weight loss
  • Use a resistance band

Safety tips

  • During strength exercises, don’t hold your breathe. Instead, take deep breaths and continue to do so.
  • As you push or lift, breathe out and inhale as you relax.
  • Discuss any questions you have about a particular exercise with your doctor.

Balance exercises for seniors

Balance exercises can help to prevent falls which is a problem that affects older adults and can lead to serious consequences. Balance can also be improved by doing lower-body strength exercises. These balance exercises are:

  • Tai Chi is a form of “moving meditation”, which involves moving the body slowly, carefully, and precisely while inhaling deeply.
  • Standing on one leg.
  • The heel to the toe walk.
  • The balance walk.
  • Standing from a seated place

Safety tips

  • If you are feeling unsteady, a chair that is sturdy or someone to help you hold onto if necessary.
  • Discuss any questions you have with your doctor.

Exercises for flexibility for older adults

Flexibility can be improved by stretching . You will be able to move more freely and reach your feet to tie your shoes, or to look over your shoulder as you pull your car out from the driveway. These flexibility exercises are:

  • Back stretch exercise
  • The inner stretch of the thighs
  • The ankle stretch
  • The back leg stretch

Safety tips

  • When your muscles are warm, stretch.
  • After endurance or strength training, stretch.
  • Do not stretch too far.
  • Remember to breathe normally even when you are attempting to stretch.
  • Discuss any questions you have with your doctor.
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