Of course, exercise is crucial for health at any age. But, it’s especially important for older adults and seniors who want to maintain their mental and physical health as they age. Not only does it keep your muscles and bones strong, but it may also protect you from a variety of illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease. Staying active also supports your moods and helps your mind stay sharp, so it’s a win-win all around.
Just like your nutritional needs, the amount and type of exercise you should be doing changes a bit as you get older. Here’s a look at how your fitness routine should change as you age, and why yoga is the best type of exercise for older adults.
How to Adjust Your Fitness Routine According to Your Age
- Fitness for Kids: In your childhood and adolescent years, exercise is important for building healthy bones, maintaining a healthy weight, proper sleep, and building self-confidence. Outdoor play, swimming, and sports are great forms of exercise for kids. Yoga is a great way for kids to manage stress and anxiety while learning about self-control.
- Fitness in Your 20s: Most people reach their physical peak in their 20s. All types of exercise are fair game, from biking and weight lifting to sports, yoga, and much more. Do whatever you enjoy!
- Fitness in Your 30s: For people in their 30s, physical fitness often gets pushed to the back burner due to family and career commitments. It’s important to do strength training and cardio workouts at least a few times a week. Stress levels can be very high at this age. Incorporating yoga is a great way to diversify your routine and keep those stress levels manageable.
- Fitness in Your 40s: For many, maintaining a healthy weight becomes a real struggle as they enter their 40s. Continue your strength training and cardio workouts at least a few times a week. Yoga is fantastic for people in their 40s because it helps build core strength, which protects against back pain and belly bulge that often becomes an issue at this age.
- Fitness in Your 50s: For many, chronic aches and pains really begin to become a problem during this decade. The risk of heart disease increases, and muscle and bone mass begin to decline. Walking and swimming are both wonderful at this age because they get your heart rate up without being too high impact. If you haven’t already, start doing yoga regularly to keep your muscles strong and help you maintain your flexibility and balance.
- Fitness in Your 60s: Staying active at this age is important for keeping disease at bay, keeping your bones strong, maintaining your muscle mass, and supporting your balance. Swimming and walking are great for cardiovascular exercise at this age. Keep doing yoga for balance, flexibility, and strength.
- Fitness in Your 70s and Beyond: Exercising into your 70s and beyond will help to prevent frailty, keep your brain sharper, boost your energy, and prevent falls. Strength and fitness can decline rapidly at this age, so it’s important to stay active. If you allow yourself to become sedentary, it can be very difficult to get active again. Walking is great, but yoga is even better because it’s low impact and supports balance and flexibility.
Nutritional Needs Change, Too
Keep in mind that your nutritional needs will change with age as well. Proper nutrition is an important part of any fitness plan because it keeps your energy up, maintains healthy bones, fights disease, supports the immune system, and much more.
Everyone should try to eat a whole-food diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. However, it can be very difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet alone.
Taking a high-quality multivitamin each day will fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet. Look for age-appropriate, organic vitamin formulas to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need at any stage of life.
Why Yoga is Such a Great Form of Exercise for Older Adults
Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise at any age! However, it offers some specific benefits for older adults and seniors that aren’t found with most other types of exercise. The combination of physical poses with breathing and relaxation techniques supports both physical and mental health. Consider a 30-day fitness challenge to jumpstart your fitness.
Since the practice is low-impact, it’s easy on aging bones and joints. It’s a great way to maintain flexibility and balance as you age. While some forms of yoga can be physically demanding, the routine can easily be adjusted to incorporate gentle Restorative, Yin, Hatha, and even chair poses to suit the needs of older adults and seniors.
For seniors experiencing cognitive decline, yoga practice can help them learn to regulate their emotions and anxieties. Learning how to perform the poses gives elderly adults a feeling of independence, accomplishment, and overall wellbeing.
Yoga Safety Tips for Older Adults
If you’re an older adult or senior thinking about taking up a yoga practice, here are some safety tips to keep in mind.
- Yoga is considered very safe for healthy people, but if you have joint issues, balance problems, high blood pressure, or other health concerns, check with your doctor first.
- Choose the right style of yoga and find a class that’s appropriate for your fitness level.
- Look for a well-trained yoga instructor who has experience working with your age group and fitness level.
- Listen to your body. If it’s telling you a pose is too hard for you, talk to your instructor about modifying it based on your personal abilities.
Let’s wrap up
Adjusting your fitness routine as you age is important, but don’t let your physical limitations keep you from picking up yoga or joining the racquetball club 🙂
No matter what age you are, or what your fitness level is, there is a yoga practice that will work for you. With the growing popularity and availability of yoga classes of all types, it’s a great time for older adults and seniors to discover the benefits of yoga!