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The Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

Why Should Seniors Exercise?

VL-happeningsAs we age, our bodies start to go through physical changes. We lose flexibility and range of motion, and some older adults start to deal with pain from certain chronic conditions, such as arthritis or osteoporosis. Plus, by the time adults enter their forties, they start losing around three-to-five percent of their muscle mass with each subsequent decade of life. Alongside the loss of muscle mass as we age, the Mayo Clinic has discovered that over half of Americans are spending six or more hours sitting a day. This type of sedentary lifestyle is leading to more cases of conditions such as diabetes, physical disabilities and cognitive decline.

Staying physically active is important at any stage of life, but for older adults, exercise offers even more long-term health benefits. A routine, daily senior exercise program helps you feel more energetic, lessens pain symptoms, decreases risk of falls and can even improve mood and mental capacity.

Finding a Senior Exercise Program to Suit You

It’s never too late to get active! The key is to find an activity you enjoy doing that is easy to maintain, and then incorporating it into an exercise routine. It is recommended to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, either all at once or broken into smaller increments of time. Whether you are looking to increase your strength, improve your mobility, or simply just want to stay active, there are a variety of senior exercise programs to choose from. It’s up to you!

Before beginning any exercise program, you should consult your doctor to make sure you have the clearance to get started. Here are some of the benefits from various senior exercise programs:

  • Stretching Exercises: Staying limber and flexible as we age can help increase range of motion and make everyday tasks easier. Daily stretching can improve flexibility, decrease the amount of energy needed to complete movement and help prevent future injury.
  • Balance Exercises: At 80 years of age, over half of seniors fall annually. Incorporating balance exercises into your daily routine can reduce risk of those falls caused by issues like arthritis, low or high blood pressure, heart disease or medication side effects.
  • Core Exercises: The core is made up of the muscles in the back and abdomen, as well as muscles along the spine, hips and pelvis. Every movement you make is generated from the core, making incorporating core exercises into a workout routine another major key in avoiding injuries from falls, poor balance or limited mobility.
  • Strength Exercises: Exercises that target strength are focused on reducing chronic pain and building or retaining muscle mass. When working with strength training, it is important to work different muscle groups each day. For example, if you begin with arms one day, you should move to leg or core exercises the next day to rest the arms.
  • Chair Exercises: For seniors who already have limited mobility, chair exercises offer a perfect way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. All the exercises listed above can be modified into seated exercises. By working the legs, arms and core, chair exercises can build and tone muscle, lubricate joints and increase blood circulation.

Enjoy Active Senior Living with Franciscan

Get your active lifestyle started with Franciscan Ministries senior living communities! Check out our website to explore senior wellness events at our communities or contact us today to learn more about how you can live actively with Franciscan.

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