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Exercise is important at any age, but it is especially vital for the elderly. It improves bodily functions, prevents chronic diseases and overall quality of life. So, let’s pick a workout that matches your needs and get moving!
Balance is important for seniors because it helps prevent falls – an elderly issue that often results in nasty complications. Flexibility matters if you want to stay independent – without flexibility, squatting and bending over will likely be painful by the time you’re 60. If you want to feel both fit and zen, just pick up Yoga or Tai chi.
It looks deceptively slow to the casual observer, but it is as intense as a brisk walk, in terms of aerobic exercises. Tai Chi also addresses a range of physical issues, such as bone strength and joint stability. It is great for improving balance and fall prevention, which is a common issue for seniors. No wonder it’s the classic option!
A lot of exercises promoted to the elderly are designed to preserve “functional fitness and movement”, but yoga can offer much more. Like Tai Chi, it is a very holistic exercise that improves balance in seniors and lowers risk of cardiovascular issues. The difference is, Yoga has a stronger focus in meditation and flexibility. If you want better mental health, better sleep quality and long-term mobility, grab a yoga mat, and head over to the nearest sports center!
HBP has linked up with numerous workout instructors and made a lot of classes free. You can attend these by downloading the Healthy 365 app and registering for activities there. (Here’s the step-by-step user guide).
With a large number of elderly Singaporeans having hypertension and other cardiovascular problems, it is now important to take on endurance activities that get the heart pumping and keep blood vessels from aging. In Singapore’s hot weather, swimming is the most pleasant option, but for those who don’t have a convenient pool, here a few good options!
For seniors with fairly good health conditions, the simplest option is to put on a pair of running shoes and head towards your nearest park. The best thing about jogging is you have complete freedom over where you go, and the pace you take. It is also easy to keep yourself motivated; all you have to plan a route that ends at your favourite makan spot or view of the city.
Don’t worry if you can’t jog fast yet; all that matters is you start moving. Even a walk in the park is good!
The pool reduces the load that a person’s body has to bear, which is why it is often used for physiotherapy. Similarly, for seniors who have not been exercising regularly, swimming is the best way to get started. It is also great for seniors who have weight control issues or need to improve their cardiovascular conditions. Grab your goggles, swimming cap and head to the nearest pool!
Instead of hopping on the bus to get to your nearest Giant, you can always get onto your bicycle. That way, you can get fit and complete your grocery shopping at the same time! For seniors who have a busy social calendar or have young family members to look after, this an easy way to fit exercise into their daily routine. (If you need a new bicycle, you will be able to buy one at any of our 6 big hypermarkets.)
With free mall workouts, you can now find free Zumba classes at various heartland shopping malls. They are very popular, as the upbeat music and dance-inspired moves give aerobics a very fun spin. Like jogging, it is super affordable and easy to start – just put on a pair of sports shoes and join the crowd!
For people who prefer less intense music, and want to know their neighbours, Line Dancing will be a better option. Because it takes a bit of commitment and teamwork to pull off impressive synchronized line dancing routines, line dancers usually put in the effort to know other fellow dancers. So, the odds are good that you make some like-minded friends.
If line dancing and Zumba are too eye-catching or fast-paced for you, shy seniors can always climb stairs. Staircases are everywhere and usually not busy, which makes them free, convenient workout spots. Do note that you’re supposed to climb up though; climbing downwards isn’t as effective and can be really punishing for old knees.
It takes muscle to carry your groceries (especially when you get 3% off on Tuesday at Giant), and to keep walking into your 80s. In fact, the human body starts to lose muscle as early as age 40. Without exercise, seniors can lose up to 50% of their muscle mass by age 70. (The muscle is replaced by fat and fibrous tissue, which means the flesh will look like a well-marbled steak.)
Stationary bikes, leg lift machines… these equipment (and more) can be found at the fitness corner for free. All that is needed is to do 15 reps on every machine and complete the whole circuit thrice. It’s that straightforward and free!
This one is for the seniors who like to stay home and watch drama. Exercises for the resistance bands are very simple, making them easy to do while watching TV. There are even mini bands, which are very affordable and compact, making it possible to exercise anywhere!
Bonus: Free 7-step exercise that you can do at home
If you have difficulties with the more intense activities like swimming and cycling, this set of exercises is a good way for you to get moving again. You can get the guide and watch the video here.
While all these exercises are generally elderly-friendly, please:
With these 10 cheap and easy ways to exercise, you now know how to age well! Don’t forget to maximise the effect with a healthy diet too! Here’s a healthy option to get you started.
There are loads of discounts and perks for senior citizens in Singapore.