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Fitness for Seniors: The Importance of Joining a Gym During Retirement

fitness for seniors

Fitness for seniors is essential. Every senior should perform at least 150 minutes of exercise every week.

Only 21 percent of seniors are physically inactive. Many seniors ask, “Can I join the gym as a senior?”

They assume the answer is no, so they stay at home. But a senior fitness program is available for anyone who wants one. 

What are the physical and mental benefits of staying healthy in retirement? What are fitness classes like? What are some exercises that seniors can perform in class or on their own time? 

Answer these questions and you can keep yourself healthy throughout your golden years. Here is your quick guide. 

Physical Benefits of Fitness for Seniors 

Older adults suffer from cancer, diabetes, and dementia at higher rates than younger ones. These rates do have to do with the aging process. But remaining physically active gets the lungs, heart, and muscles working. 

The National Cancer Institute has published several studies on physical activity and cancer rates. It has concluded that exercise reduces the rates of multiple cancers, including fatal ones like esophageal cancer. 

Exercise does this through several mechanisms. It lowers levels of hormones that cause cells to overproduce. Cells that replicate too many times can develop tumors that impair organ function. 

It also lowers insulin rates. High insulin in the blood helps tumors grow, in addition to sparking diabetes. 

Exercise can be strenuous, yet it helps improve immune system function. When cancer cells develop, the immune system can fight them off. 

A stronger immune system helps with more than just cancer. The common cold can lead to pneumonia and impaired lung function. White blood cells strengthened through exercise can prevent viruses from affecting the lungs. 

Muscle-strengthening has its own particular benefits. Muscles provide support to the bones, insulating them from a fall and wear-and-tear. Seniors who engage in muscle-strengthening experience fewer falls and less pain when they do fall. 

Mental Benefits 

Both cardiovascular workouts and muscle-strengthening have substantial mental health benefits. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that make a person feel good. These chemicals can alleviate anxiety and depression. 

Exercise can help create a good night’s sleep in several ways. It naturally makes a person more tired, so they will fall asleep quicker. The same chemicals that make a person happy help the brain wind down. 

A light jog can cause a person’s core body temperature to rise. This can keep someone awake for longer periods. But as the temperature starts to drop, the person feels sleepy. 

Exercise is a great way to engage with others. Playing sports requires teamwork and leadership skills. Even just walking with someone else can act as social engagement. 

The more socially engaged a person is, the better their mental health is. Social isolation can increase the risk of dementia by 50 percent. Sharing an experience with someone engages working memory and verbal skills, especially during physical exertion.  

Safe Fitness Classes for Seniors

There are many resources out there for seniors to get active. One great resource is fitness classes. Seniors can learn from instructors how to stretch, jog, and lift weights.

Group classes provide a great opportunity for socialization. Instructors can play music and provide yoga mats so exercise becomes less stressful. 

Seniors who want to lose weight can focus on that. They can use cardio training equipment and pursue routines like Zumba.

Clubs that run classes offer additional resources. After getting their heart rates up, seniors can go and get a relaxing massage. 

If someone wants to pursue classes on their own, they can get a personal trainer. This is especially good for someone with pre-existing health problems or impaired mobility. 

The trainer can give personalized exercises for the senior. If they have trouble lifting their arms, they can focus on light jogging that trains the lower body. 

Potential Exercises for Seniors

Seniors can integrate many different exercises into their regimen. Vigorous walking provides similar benefits to running without the stress that running causes. 

It may not be enough to walk at an idle pace. Seniors should swing their arms to burn more calories and improve their balance. They can hold weights in their hands to improve muscle definition in their arms. 

Lifting weights is the most common way to strengthen one’s muscles. Dumbbells should have firm grips so the person lifting them does not drop them. They can lift on both sides at once, or they can focus on one arm and then the other. 

If a senior has trouble gripping smaller objects, they can use a resistance band. They can wrap one end around a stationary object and wrap the other end around their arm. They can then pull forward and push back, flexing their muscles. 

To improve their lower body strength, they can wrap the band around their legs. They can perform a banded bridge, lying against the floor and pushing their hips upward. 

Seniors do not have to exercise every day. They should take at least one day off to allow their muscles to repair themselves. 

Find Resources to Keep Yourself Fit 

Fitness for seniors has profound benefits. Exercise drives down hormone and insulin levels so cells do not grow out of control. Workouts make the immune system more resilient and the heart stronger. 

Exercise also helps fight insomnia and loneliness. Seniors should exercise a few hours before going to bed.

Group classes are naturally social, giving time for seniors to interact with each other. Seniors should go for walks and lift weights. Stretches and dance classes combine cardio with muscle strengthening. 

Don’t keep your fit physique waiting. Fitness CF Gyms has facilities throughout southern Florida. Contact us today.