Over the years, much has been said and proven about the benefits of daily physical activity and regular exercise to the physical, mental and even emotional well-being of our seniors and older adult population.
Many of these benefits include, but are not limited, to the following:
- increased energy levels,
- enhanced sleep,
- reduced stress levels,
- better weight management,
- reduced risk of chronic diseases,
- improved blood circulation, and
- decreased risk of falls.
With these benefits in mind, coupled with governmental policies and campaigns, more and more seniors and older adults in our midst are now actively pursuing age-specific fitness programs and initiatives. Even those who have always been inactive have also begun seriously contemplating incorporating fitness into their daily routines.
As a Certified Senior/Older Adults Fitness Coach in Singapore, I have seen quite a surge in inquiries about fitness services for older adults in recent years; and these queries come not only from interested seniors themselves, but also many from their adult children - requesting for more information on behalf of their parents.
As with all exercise programs, there are always risks involved, and seniors/older adults may wish to consider the following tips when embarking on a fitness program:
1) Always Seek Clearance With Your Physician First
If you're above 55 years of age, and/or have existing medical conditions, please do consult with your doctors first before starting any exercise program. Your doctors may want to do a Full Body Medical Examination for you, and based on the results, advise you accordingly on any precautions and/or contraindications to take note of.
2) Start Low, Slow & Easy
If you're new to exercise, make sure that you go gentle on yourself when you first start exercising. Always start easy and slow. Also, go LOW on both intensity and volume in the initial phase of your exercise journey. The last thing you want is to throw yourself hastily into a new program and run the risk of hurting yourself in the process!
3) Always Warm-Up Before Exercise And Cool-Down After The Session
As an older adult, the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons of your body need more time than ever before to prepare itself for the actual workout routine. Please do NOT jump straight into your exercise routine without a proper warm-up first as it will not only put you at a greater risk of injury but also potentially derail your long-term fitness goals down the road. Likewise, it is equally important to always cool-down at the end of every exercise session to prevent muscle cramps, soreness and other physical discomforts from manifesting themselves and disrupting your well-being. As a general rule, do DYNAMIC stretches for your warm-ups, and STATIC stretches for your warm-downs.
4) Be Regular And Consistent
Health and fitness gains from exercising can only come about if you make it a regular habit and demonstrate persistency and consistency in following through with it. Try to stick to a regular workout schedule, commit whole-heartedly to it and make it a life-long habit. Only then will you reap the health benefits and rewards down the road.
5) Pursue A Well-Rounded Fitness Program
As a senior/older adult, it is vitally important that the fitness program you pursue is well-balanced and all-rounded. This is to ensure that ALL aspects of your fitness are suitably addressed and no area is neglected, ignored or over-emphasized. For starters, make sure that the components of your golden-age fitness program include elements of: Resistance Training, Cardiovascular Training, Flexibility Training, Balance Training and Mobility Work.
6) Get Support
Doing exercise alone can indeed be a very lonesome experience for many older adults. This is also one of the top reasons why so many people drop-out of an exercise program prematurely. As such, to ensure continuity and success in your fitness endeavours, try to seek as much support as you can from your family, friends and loved ones. Even better, get them to join you in your workouts. If that's not possible, seek to join a suitable senior exercise group near your vicinity.
7) Always Listen To Your Body
Unlike what some popular fitness trends may promote, exercise - especially for seniors and older adults - should NEVER hurt or be painful! If it does, STOP immediately and seek medical advice. Always tune yourself in to your own body and be mindful of the varying signals that your body is giving you from time to time.
8) Seek Professional Guidance If In Doubt
If you're new to exercise, have little idea on where and how to start, or have some past injury records or even existing health conditions, it may be best for you to seek out a trained fitness professional - especially one well-versed in senior and older adult fitness - to guide you along in your fitness journey. A Certified Senior /Older Adult Fitness Specialist can truly make a world of difference to your fitness efforts down the road.
9) Remember To Have FUN
Your fitness journey is a marathon not a sprint. In order to last the distance, you need to make sure that you ENJOY yourself along the way. Choose activities and exercises that appeal to you, elevate your mood and bring you joy!
Think PLAY, not work! Think FUN, not chore! Always be game to try out NEW exercise programs and physical pursuits in your fitness journey too!
There you have it.
With the above tips, you have more than enough information to get yourself or your loved ones started on a fitness journey - safely and effectively - during the Golden Years of your lives.
Remember: It's NEVER too late to start. Give it a go today!
If you need more information, require further assistance, or would love to work with me one-on-one, please feel free to get in touch with me at: