senior woman doing water aerobicsWe’ve all heard that exercise is the fountain of youth.

A recent study showed that out of 893 seniors around the age of 80, the most active had a lower risk of dying over the four-year study compared to the least active in the group.

But if you’re a senior, and want to begin exercising more, you may be worried about the potential harm of exercise.

What if you fall and break a hip while bicycling or jogging? In other words, how active is too active? What are safe exercises for seniors?

Are there senior exercises I should avoid?

If you have certain medical conditions, specific types of exercise may be too risky for you. People with severe osteoporosis, for example, have brittle bones that can fracture easily.
They should avoid high-impact activities that involve sudden jolts, twists, or turns, and those in which the risk of falling is likely.

Tennis, riding a bicycle, running, squash and golf can all have these risks. Try other exercises like yoga, tai chi or water aerobics which are gentler on joints and bones.

If you have a heart condition such as heart disease, or diabetes,  a pulmonary condition that affects your ability to breathe, arthritis or have had a stroke, you should talk to your doctor to determine what kind of exercise is safe for you.

Your doctor will take into consideration your health conditions, medications, and other factors to help you identify the level of exercise that is good for you. Then get a coach to design a workout plan that’s safe for you based on the plan you and your doctor have agreed upon.

Your coach will help you stay motivated in the beginning when changing old habits is the most difficult, and you can look forward to graduation day!

How can I stay safe while exercising?

Now that you have a  plan and a coach, here are some tips to help keep exercise safe:

  • Be sure to pace yourself, and balance high-intensity intervals with rest.
  • If you feel pain during your workout, stop. Exercising should be challenging, but never painful.
  • Don’t exercise when it’s too hot, cold, or humid. Move your workout indoors during adverse conditions.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration is a special risk for seniors, so drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
  • If your exercise regimen is disrupted because of travel or the holidays, ease back into your workout routine.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re too tired, thirsty, or sore, give yourself a chance to rest and heal.

With the right medical advice, a coach and a plan that is safe, exercise is something that can keep you happy and healthy for the rest of your life.

What’s your favorite way to stay active? Share in the comments!

  • Patrick Rice

    I’ve been active all my life and when my wife was stricken with Alzheimer’s I chose to car for at home on my own till her death. She was 73 when she passed and I was 76. In the following two years I was diagnosed with stomach cancer and had a total gastrectomy (whole stomach removed). With in months I decided to take up my running and now a days I complete four miles four times a week. With any luck I’ll son be 82 years old. So what’s age got to do with it?

    • John Gould

      Patrick, I did the same with my mom. She died in my arms. Your reward is coming, I am sure if it hasn’t already.

  • John Gould

    At 76, I am a semi retired Painter and drywall man. I have always been in the building trades and out working all young and old. I am working harder doing landscaping on this 1/2 acre with small home. Using allot of shovel and pick. hauling rock. I am a home brewer of beer and wine plus a potter. I have never or now on meds. I have regular check ups at the VA and they say I am in great shape but my cholestoral and blood pressure is a little high but I refuse to take any of their meds. Statins are very dangerous. I also have a little trouble with arther Ritus. He sometimes tries to cause problems with my back.You never can really know what can be around the corner. Enjoy while you can.