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Seniors’ eyesight and physical balance may not be as before, and they may experience shortness of breath and more weight gain. However, it is encouraged for seniors to take up low-intensity workouts to keep fit and stay healthy.
Staying active can help slow down the effects of ageing, and those who are physically active are encouraged to continue doing so even into their golden years. However, before trying out a new physical and sports activity, seniors must consider their health condition and abilities first. The Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) is one method to assess seniors’ health and lifestyle condition prior to starting on an exercise programme.
These exercises in water are ideal for ageing joints as they are both low-impact and non-weight-bearing. Doing laps in a pool can help to tone muscles and improve flexibility, cardiovascular health and range of motion. Even if the seniors are not a strong swimmer, they may consider joining an aqua aerobics class or use swim aids like foam noodles or kick boards. The resistance from the water will not only improve muscular strength but also keep them cool at the same time!
Both Tai Chi and yoga are low-intensity sports, which emphasise gentle, gradual movements and have wonderful benefits for balance and flexibility. Besides helping with relaxation, doing these sports in a class can be a great way to combine exercise with meeting friends.
Cha-cha, Zumba or ballroom dance to greater health! Dancing is not only fun, but it’s an aerobic workout that improves energy levels, balance and flexibility. These social activities can help create strong social connections that increase seniors’ sense of well-being. For activities with reduced stress on joints, try chair dancing or line dancing.
All three sports (i.e. table tennis, tennis and badminton) help to improve hand-eye coordination, along with balance and stamina. As these sports can get strenuous – requiring fast reflexes and stamina – they may not be suited for all seniors. You don’t have to be a pro to reap the benefits of these sports, but regular games can improve upper and lower body strength, and even lower the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Together with your family members, put your best foot forward and walk your way to a healthier body! Brisk walking is not only easily accessible to everyone, but is also a great way to exercise at your own pace. Encourage the grands to lace up their comfortable walking shoes, and set a target to complete a 15-minute walk a day. Once considerable momentum is gained, seniors can increase their speed and exercise duration.
Here’s another low-impact sport that can be done indoors or outdoors with little impact on joints and allows for a great cardio and muscle workout. Seniors can consider exploring the gardens and many cycling paths around Singapore, or opt for stationary bikes that can be found at gyms and fitness corners.
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