Need proof that physical fitness has no age limit? Consider the story of Harriette Thompson, a Southerner who’s conquered a slew of marathons. The tenacious nonagenarian set a record in 2014 at the Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego marathon. She was the fastest competitor in the 90-94 age group. Of course, there are plenty of seniors who aren’t able to pound the pavement for 26.2 miles. However, millions of older adults can engage in some level of physical activity. And those who do exercise reap a multitude of rewards.
Benefits of physical fitness
- Prevent or delay disease
- Manage stress, improve mood
Get a cardio workout
Engage in strength training
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a strength workout that includes a warm-up, upper- and lower-body (seated or standing) exercises that can be performed with or without weights and a cool down.
Work on balance and flexibility
Take deep breaths
Try new activities
Get a good night’s rest
“No matter what your age,” says helpguide.org, “sleeping well is essential to your physical health and emotional well-being.” Steps that improve a senior’s odds of getting restful and restorative sleep include maintaining a sleep schedule; developing a bedtime ritual; and avoiding alcohol, big meals and large amounts of liquids before turning in. No two seniors share the same level of physical fitness. All seniors, however, can revel in its many benefits.