Regular physical activity is good for both the body and mind. Many people disregard the strong connection between physical and mental health.
The truth is that they are both intertwined and interdependent. Seniors that lead an inactive lifestyle are a greater risk for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Seniors experiencing cognitive impairment, often lead a sedentary lifestyle.
When it comes to illness and injury for seniors, prevention is the best medicine.
A good way to begin living a healthy lifestyle is with consistent physical exercise. This chair exercise program for seniors offers a wide range of exercises that older adults can do to improve their health.
It is an excellent routine for older adults of all levels of physical condition and abilities. It offers a full body workout, with a variety of activities for all the major muscle groups.
A recommended approach is to start off light and then ramp up activities as strength and mobility improve.
Chair Exercises Provide a Full Body Workout
For a good overall physical balance, it is important to target all the main muscle groups in your workout.
A full body workout is a great way to improve mobility, and reduce the aches and pains of stiff joints and tense muscles.
A chair exercise routine can implement exercises that focus on each of the muscle groups. Even just one exercise per muscle area is good way to start.
All you need is a sturdy chair with no wheels, and ideally no arms. The chair helps provide stability and balance during the workout, to prevent any excessive stress on the joints.
Muscle groups to concentrate on, include:
Core is one of the most important areas to focus on, as it is the foundation for balance and stability. At least one exercise for each group should be included in the routine, with focus on any problematic areas.
Nutrition and Stretching
Physical exercise is certainly important, but so is what you do before and after your workout.
A healthy diet is a superb compliment to regular physical activity. After exercise, the body needs protein, healthy carbs, and nutrients to recover and heal.
Also, eating nutritious food daily will help provide more energy and motivation for physical exercise.
Protein is essential for both repairing and building muscle. Some healthy sources of protein to target post workout, include:
- Fish – salmon and tuna are both good sources of omega 3s
- Organic or free-range poultry
- Cottage cheese
Eating healthy carbohydrates is also helpful after a workout. During exercise, your body gets depleted of a substance called glycogen. Glycogen is a carbohydrate stored in the body that needs to be replenished after physical activity.
Some good sources of healthy carbs, include:
- Fruit – bananas are rich in both potassium and healthy carbs
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
- Bread and pasta made with whole grains
Healthy fats can also be useful after a workout. Some healthy fats may be:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
The best way to get your daily required nutrients is to load up on your favorite fruits and vegetables.
Another fundamental aspect of physical health is stretching. For improved flexibility, seniors should be stretching a little bit every day.
Stretching can be a part of your morning routine to help get your muscles and joints ready for the day.
To prevent injury and muscle tightness, it is also recommended to do some stretching before and after you exercise.
Some useful stretching exercises are detailed in the chair exercise program linked above.
Chair Exercises to Improve Physical and Mental Health
Physical activity is obviously good for the body, but it’s also good for the brain.
Regular physical exercise can help:
- Improve blood flow to the brain
- Enhance memory
- Produce new brain cells
- Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression
Improve Blood Flow to the Brain
Physical activity helps improve circulation in general, including blood flow to the brain. This is essential to good brain health because it delivers the required oxygen and nutrients for routine mental function.
Studies have shown that consistent physical exercise and aerobic activity can help stimulate more cell growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
Brain Cell Production
It is not just the hippocampus that benefits from physical exercise, but it also helps the neurogenesis process, which produces neurons throughout the brain.
Reduced Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. Studies also show that regular physical activity can help prevent depression and social isolation.