Lakefront communities like Lake Forest, Highland Park, Glencoe and Wilmette all offer seniors a great opportunity to take advantage of the nice weather by going outside for some exercise and fresh air. It is really important for seniors to integrate exercise into their lives to improve their overall health. Not only is it great for a senior’s physical health, but some experts believe that it can also help with cognition as well. The American Medical Association found after incorporating physical activities into their lives for a six month period, seniors showed some overall improvement with memory issues and cognitive processing.
Every senior’s condition is different than the next, so it is important for older adults to consult with their doctors about adding exercise into their routines. While exercise is important, senior safety comes first.
If it has been determined by a physician that incorporating exercise into daily routines benefits the senior, the next step would be determining the best place to start. If a senior is mobile, walking outside is the most convenient and cost effective option for exercise. With the help of family members or caregivers, seniors can be taken to a location with beautiful scenery to enjoy the sights while getting in their exercise. Examples of great places to walk in the Northshore include the Botanic Gardens, Baha’i Temple or along the lakefront near Northwestern. Taking in the summer air and looking at their surroundings can make the senior forget they are doing exercise in the first place.
Local gyms have professional trainers that know special techniques tailored for seniors. Trainers receive education on how to motivate the elderly to exercise without causing intimidation or anxiety. They will ask thorough questions about a senior’s health and any current injuries, so the trainer can determine what exercises would be the best fit for the senior. Personal trainers provide guidance and support during the exercises to ensure the safety of the senior. Finding a professional trainer also provides the individual with one-on-one attention, so the elderly person is being supervised for the entirety of the training session. Hiring a personal trainer is a great option; however it is not usually the most financially friendly one.
Gyms also offer senior-specific classes if working with a personal trainer is not something the senior is interested in doing. Group classes allow seniors to do physical activities with other seniors, and it costs less money than working with a professional trainer. Group classes provide the elderly with the opportunity to socialize while doing an activity that is good for their health. Examples of senior group exercises include walking club, senior yoga, water aerobics, tai chi and the SilverSneakers program. Some experts agree attending group fitness classes to promote physical health and socialization could improve brain health.
Water aerobics is a really great exercise option for seniors. This genre of fitness is fairly low impact and gentle on an individual’s joints. It is also a great type of fitness for people with physical impairments; because people who have trouble walking on land have better mobility under water. The water resistance provides a good cardiovascular workout and can improve a senior’s strength over time. Water fitness decreases the amount of strain on a person’s body, and often times moving around in the pool does not seem like exercise.
Another great exercise option for seniors is tai chi, which helps people improve core strength and balance. The gentle motions involved in tai chi are performed in a continuous flow to ensure the person’s body is constantly moving. There are various styles of tai chi, so seniors should explore the style of tai chi that focuses on health maintenance. This form of exercise can help an elderly person improve their flexibility, and some experts believe it can have a positive impact on arthritis, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, sleep problems and more.
It is important for all seniors who are physically able to incorporate exercise into their daily lives to do so. Small amounts of exercise may seem insignificant, but they can have a big impact on a senior’s overall health.