Fitness for Seniors
It's never too late to begin a regular exercise program
By Chris Sparling
At sixty-six years old and in remarkable shape, Sylvester Stallone is a bit of a physical anomaly. But unlike the Italian Stallion, you need not lift heavy weights and run the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to shape up. A moderate-intensity workout, performed three-to-five times per week, is more than enough for seniors and older adults to begin experiencing the health benefits of regular exercise.
The National Institutes of Health recommends that seniors and older adults follow a fitness program that involves both cardiovascular training and strength training. There is an enormous amount of research to support the effects of each of these components on blood glucose levels, weight management, osteoporosis, and blood pressure. To that end, the following workout will split your week into sessions designed to target muscle-building and toning, and sessions geared toward improving circulation and cardiovascular health.
It's never too late to begin a regular exercise program. The only person who can tell you differently is your doctor. As a senior citizen, you may be dealing with some common ailments, such as joint pain and arthritis. Provided that he or she gives you the O.K., start with an easy fitness program – such as joining a fitness class at your local senior center, walking around your neighborhood, or the workout suggested here, – and build from there. Even if you are dealing with a condition that limits your mobility, you can still get fit. There are classes that offer special exercises for people using wheelchairs, classes that take place entirely in a pool, and even different fitness trainers who specialize in coaching people with disabilities.
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