We do not have control over all factors of aging, no matter how well we eat and how much we exercise but that should not be an excuse to give up and not exercise. You have more to lose in the long run by not exercising. Exercising helps you maintain abilities that keep you independent. Exercising not only has physical health benefits, it also helps improve your mental health. So you get two for one when you engage in physical activity!

There are so many forms of exercise to partake in and especially in a city like Denver that is continuously ranked one of the fittest cities in the United States. With so many options it is hard to decide what type of exercise is best? Kickboxing, yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, hiking, skiing, Silver Sneakers, just to name a few! There is no perfect exercise program but to help you get the most out of exercise, you should make sure your exercise program incorporates 4 types of exercise.

1.) Endurance

This is anything that gets your heart moving and intensifies your breathing. This could be dancing at a wedding, swimming with the grandkids in the pool, mowing the lawn, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at the mall, or walking the dogs. Often times the word aerobic is used to describe this type of exercise. We need endurance to engage in everyday tasks around the house.

2.) Strength

We often times think only of lifting weights but strength training does not have to involve only metal weights. You can use strength bands, which are made of plastic, and easy to store and take with you when you are out of town. You can build strength by using your own body weight, for instance, push ups or squats. When you lift your laundry hamper, groceries, luggage or cooler, you are using your strength. It is important to keep your strength in order to maintain independence in daily activities.

3.) Balance

Activities that challenge your center of gravity involve balance, such as standing on one foot at a time. Balance is not something we always think of when we think of exercise. Be sure to be safe when engaging in balancing exercises by having something close by that you can grab onto or have someone with you. Incorporating balance activities in your exercise program is of utmost importance because balance is a huge factor in preventing falls. Fall related injuries affect millions of older adults every year. Think of the times when you were about to fall and you catch your balance and the fall is prevented.

4.) Flexibility

Any type of activity that helps increase your range of motion is considered a flexibility exercise. You use flexibility when you put on our socks, turn around to look out the back of the car, or lean over the table to grab the salt and pepper shaker. Stretching to improve flexibility has the power to decrease pain, if you need even more motivation to try and touch your toes!

All four types of exercise should be combined in your overall exercise program. Guidelines for adults over 65 recommends 150 minutes of exercise a week, which is 2.5 hours of exercise. It is best to spread this time out over the week and try for at least 3 days a week of exercise. Of course it is best to speak to your physician before engaging in a new activity, especially if you have a health condition that would advise you to do so (www.go4life.nia.nih.gov). For more information about exercise programs in the Denver Metro area that might be right for you, contact Denver Senior Care consultants for more resources.