Exercise for Seniors

Exercise for seniors is easy if you've been exercising for decades before reaching seniority.

If not, you just need to go into a regular exercise program very gradually.

For many very healthy people, walking is all you need to do. Just do it everyday.

If you're carrying around some extra weight, be very patient with yourself. Walk for only 5 or 10 minutes each day at first. You might want to buy a portable heart rate monitor - something like a wristwatch with that function.

Or you can just be guided by Stephen Cherniske's advice as to how long and how fast to walk.

He says if you can walk and talk at the same time without huffing and puffing, you're okay. If you're too out of breath to talk while walking, slow down to a more relaxed pace.

He also tells us that walking or any other exercise that is too intense for our level of fitness actually cause us to burn muscle mass instead of fat.

Don't worry, he says, about maintaining a brisk pace. Briskness will come naturally when you're ready for it.

It takes 30 minutes of walking just to get to the point where you will be burning fat. A that point you will be forcing your body to use fat as fuel. Remember, if you haven't walked for years and you have lots of fat to burn, you'll need to work up to the long walks gradually.

You might even have to invest in some good walking shoes and good-quality cotton socks.

Drink lots of water.

But if you've had prolonged use of medications, or your diet has been faulty for years, you might also want to include some other forms of exercise.

When I turned 50 I began to notice that I had less hand and arm strength than before. It was especially noticeable if I worked on a car.

So we bought a few hand weights and began to do regular simple routines for shoulder, arm, and hand muscles.

We don't make any attempt to be involved in bodybuilding. Using just lighter weights is enough to get your strength back up then maintain it.

Pushups and pullups will work if you haven't lost too much strength since the last time you were doing them. If a couple of years have gone by since you've regularly done pushups or pullups, starting with light handweights is a good idea.

After a month or so you can start doing pushups from your knees.

Joyce has been walking every day without fail. She might miss a day here and there if it's just impossible, but never 2 in a row.

She recovered from rather severe fibromyalgia without using any medication.

Walking was part of the very effective therapy designed by our alternative physician-chiropractor.

Sometimes I walk with her - but not everyday.

We exercise every day. Exercise includes pilates for her, and some weight routines for me. She also does some work with weights.

The secret of exercise for seniors is to enjoy it. Enjoy the feeling of aliveness, vitality and energy.

Two or three times each week, we take a bike ride for about 40-45 minutes.

Outdoor exercise is wonderful therapy. The fresh air, the scents and sounds, the sunlight - all amazing and vital.

We're now in our late sixties - or at least one of us is. Joyce is only 66.

It was easy for us to continue exercising into our early sixties, because we had been doing it for a couple of decades prior.

I began running for the cardio-vascular benefits when I was 37 and continued it for about 20 years. Bicycling entered the picture when someone gave me a ten-speed bike - which was very enjoyable to ride.

Bicycling gradually replaced the running - for which my knees and ankles are very thankful.

Lots of folks include running or jogging in their exercise for seniors routine, though.

Remember - if all you do is walk, you're on the right track. Walking is amazing, and will add decades to your lifespan.

Exercise for seniors is much more important than it was during the earlier seasons of your life - though it was highly important then as well.

Return to Anti-Aging from Exercise for Seniors