Senior Fitness Trends

With the trend of Americans to be sedentary, it's never been more important to be active and participate in sports and activities that keep us in shape. This is especially true for adults over 60, since exercise can help ward off illness by boosting the immune system, as well as increase flexibility and range of movement, and improve mental acuity. Here are four exercise trends that are growing in popularity in the over-60 crowd.

Senior woman water aerobics

Yoga

The sequences of stretching and posing that yoga uses to tone and build muscle have been increasing in popularity for the past five to 10 years. Further, the benefits of yoga include increased joint flexibility, less arthritis pain, relaxation that aids in sleep, and lower blood pressure.

SeniorFitness.net has a great overview for seniors who participate in yoga, including poses that are most suitable for adults over the age of 50. Senior-only yoga classes are still few and far between, but places like Silver Age Yoga are cropping up around the country.

Swimming

This water-based low-impact exercise has a host of helpful benefits, including better balance, lower stress levels and a reduced risk of osteoporosis. Swimming is also an excellent choice for seniors because it is easy on the body and places less stress on joints. Many YMCAs, YWCAs, gyms and other fitness centers have senior swimming programs or water aerobics classes. Another place to look is community pools and organizations that may offer classes or programs.

Tai Chi

This meditative activity is great for building core muscles and relaxing tension in the body. The fact that it is low-impact makes it great for seniors who are just beginning an exercise routine. It's said to help with arthritis pain and lower blood pressure, as well as enhance mental acuity and concentration, making it a great option for patients with dementia and Alzheimer's.

Walking

Sure, walking isn't as buzzworthy as yoga or tai chi, but it's one of the best ways to keep in good total body health, increasing stamina, keeping the heart healthy and toning muscles.

There are even walking clubs that cater to seniors in many cities. New York City has the Big Apple Senior Strollers, and if you don't have one in your area, it's easy to start one. About.com has a step-by-step guide on how to form a walking club in your city.

Getting fit and staying healthy doesn't have to get harder with age. By incorporating an activity or two into your weekly routine, your physical and mental health will benefit greatly.

More on senior health

Senior health: 4 Fun and healthy senior activities
5 Tips for helping seniors manage holiday stress
Strategies to deal with loss of appetite in seniors

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