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Senior Fitness: A Comprehensive Guide to Elderly Fitness and the Best Fitness Center for Seniors

Maybe you’ve never been someone extremely into physical fitness. Or have you always loved the gym, but you’re just not feeling it anymore. But you’re getting to an age where some issues are becoming clear:

  • You’re afraid of getting an injury.
  • You’re afraid of losing your mobility.
  • You need to take a closer look at your cardio health.

The idea of senior fitness classes or senior fitness programs might have you breaking out in a cold sweat, but don’t worry. You have everything to gain by getting a handle on your fitness now.

In this article, we’ll go over the importance and benefits of senior fitness, some steps to take, and the best fitness center for seniors.

Table of Contents

Senior Fitness: The Key to a Healthy and Happy Lifestyle After 65

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity provides many key benefits specifically for our older generations:

  • Reduces the risk of falling
  • Can help reduce blood pressure
  • Helps maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints
  • Reduces the risk of death by heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers
  • Helps control joint swelling and arthritic pain

Have you heard the phrase “use it, or lose it”?

The loss of strength and stamina attributed to aging in part comes from reduced physical activity.

According to the CDC, by age 75 approximately one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity.

We, however, believe that you’re never too old for fitness. We’ll discuss the importance of exercising regularly to maintain stability, mobility, and strength later in this article.

senior fitness programs

Too Old for the Gym? How Fit Should You Be At 65?

The biggest indicator of whether you are unfit is relatively straightforward actually: if you are able to do normal tasks without difficulty then you are fit for your age.

Things naturally change over time, but how do you know whether you should be concerned or not?

Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Does anything keep you from doing your normal activities?
  2. Have you noticed a change in your ability to do things you used to do?

If you answered YES to either of these questions, then it may be time to get serious about jump-starting your fitness routine.

A new routine won’t be difficult to start, and the benefits can be extraordinary.

With increased fitness you’ll be healthier, feel more confident, and be able to get back to the activities you love doing.

Senior Fitness Programs: 3 Steps to a Healthier You After 65

Increasing your activity levels and physical fitness can be broken down into a three-step process:

  1. Start by building up stability. Your core muscles need to be strong enough to give you the most support and balance they can. 
  2. Move on with mobility exercises. Focusing on range of motion and increasing movement will rejuvenate your muscles and cardiovascular system.
  3. Finally, building strength in your muscles with functional fitness will bring you to the healthy senior fitness level you’ve been looking for.

Read on to follow In Motion O.C.’s 3 steps to a healthier you after 65.

#1 Senior Fitness Exercises for Stability

It feels like once you reach a certain age your loved ones only want to talk to you about balance and preventing falls.

It can get annoying, but unfortunately, concerned family and friends are right to keep it on our minds.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of five falls results in a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury. Additionally, nearly three million older people are treated for falls in emergency departments each year.

This is why we at In Motion O.C. take building core muscle strength for a strong foundation so seriously.

Bridge Exercises for Stability

Bridge exercises work the muscles that make up the posterior chain—the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, as well as the hamstrings.

These muscles get used daily and are particularly important for those trickier transitions such as going from sitting to standing or going upstairs.

These transitions are also when falls are most likely to occur.

Strengthen and stabilize these muscles with bridge exercises. Here is how to do a bridge exercise:

  1. Bridge exercises can be done by lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground at a comfortable distance from your butt. 
  2. Focus on engaging your glutes and squeezing your core muscles to drive down through your heels and raise your hips up with each repetition.
  3. Gently lower back down onto the floor.

As you gain stability through this exercise you can experiment with bridge exercise variations, like:

  • Single-leg glute bridge
  • Glute bridge leg extension
  • Pelvic tilt to bridge
  • Bridge with resistance band
  • Bridge with dumbbells on hips

elderly fitness programs

#2 Senior Fitness Exercises for Mobility

Senior fitness programs put emphasis on mobility for good reason.

While flexibility can be essential for muscle health, it’s different than mobility.

In short, flexibility is the muscle’s ability to stretch, and mobility is the joint’s ability to move correctly.

Bringing this idea of mobility into focus, we can break it down even further.

Fit seniors must focus on both:

  • Joint mobility (either individual or a group of joints)
  • Total-body mobility (how well your body moves as a unit to get you through your day)

Dumbbell Chest Flyes for Mobility

Dumbbell chest flyes fit in well as a mobility exercise in senior fitness programs because of their focus on achieving a full range of motion.

Dumbbell chest flyes work the following muscle groups:

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps

To perform a dumbbell chest fly you’ll need:

  • Two 3-10 pound dumbbells
  • Bench (optional)

Steps for a dumbbell chest fly:

  1. Lie flat on your back on a flat bench. Place your feet firmly on the floor on either side of the bench.
  2. Pick up dumbbells and hold one in each hand.
  3. Lift your arms above your head so they’re extended but elbows are not locked. Keep a slight bend in the elbow and your palms facing each other.
  4. Slowly lower dumbbells in an arc motion until they are in line with your chest. Keep your arms at the same level as your shoulders.
  5. Repeat.

#3 Senior Fitness Exercises for Strength

The third step for a complete senior fitness program is increasing strength.

Why work on strength, if you already have stability and mobility down?

One of our biggest senior fitness goals at In Motion O.C. is resiliency. If you fall, can you exert enough energy to safely get back up?

To create that explosive energy to push yourself up off the floor you need a lot of muscular strength (on top of stability and mobility).

Sandbag Deadlifts for Strength

Deadlifts in general, and especially sandbag deadlifts are some of our favorite exercises to recommend for strength training.

Since they’re an exercise that uses the whole posterior chain of the body it exposes any weaker muscle points. Sandbag deadlifts can help identify what muscle groups still need to be worked on.

To perform a sandbag deadlift:

  1. Planting feet shoulder-width apart, squat down and grip a sandbag roughly shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keeping your back straight, pull your shoulders back, and look forward while lifting the sandbag.
  3. Focus on bringing the sandbag back onto your heels and keep it as close as possible to your body at all times.
  4. Lift to thigh level, pause, and lower back down to the start position.

Senior Fitness Classes: Get Fit Together

As millions of Baby Boomers are entering their golden years, they often struggle not only with physical or medical issues, but also increasing social isolation.

Why not hit two birds with one stone?

Senior fitness classes come in all shapes and sizes and can be fun and social as well.

Do you like walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, or water aerobics?

These are great examples of fitness classes, often oriented towards fit seniors, where you can stay healthy while also meeting like-minded people.

You can find these and other classes as part of In Motion O.C.’s physical therapy programs. Keep reading to find out more.

Walking, Weights, and Aqua Fitness for Seniors

When it comes to senior fitness classes, senior fitness programs, and group exercises, you have many options to choose from—especially when you consider aqua fitness.

For seniors, the fact that aqua fitness provides the same cardiovascular and musculoskeletal benefits as non-aqua fitness can be life-changing.

There’s no risk of dangerous falls, and water aerobics is always known to put a smile on people’s faces.

More questions? Read through the following sections for more frequently asked questions about senior fitness.

And if you have more questions after that, feel free to contact us at In Motion O.C.

How Much Cardio a Week Should a Senior Get?

According to the World Health Organization, seniors should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.

They recommend combining this with muscle-strengthening exercises on two or more days a week.

Does Walking Extend Your Life?

A study by the American Cancer Society has found that even low levels of walking are linked to lower rates of mortality.

What does this mean?

Walking may help people live longer.

The study found that even levels of walking below the recommended guidelines (150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week) were associated with lower mortality rates.

And participants who walked one to one times the recommended level of physical activity had even better outcomes. Their mortality rate was 20% lower than those with no physical activity.

How Do You Stop Muscle Loss as You Age?

The most effective way to stop muscle loss as you age is to continue exercising. Being active, even by doing simple exercises such as walking, can slow your rate of muscle loss.

Resistance exercises such as…

  •  lifting weights, and 
  • calisthenics (like squats, push-ups, and sit-ups)

…are the most effective exercises to slow muscle loss as you age.

One study has even shown that the muscles of men and women who have consistently exercised throughout their adult lives are indistinguishable from those of healthy 25-year-olds in many ways.

elderly fitness programs

In Motion O.C.: The Best Fitness Center for Seniors

Our mission is to provide a more enjoyable life for our patients through health and fitness.

At In Motion O.C., we strive to be the best fitness center for seniors.

How are we the very best in senior fitness?

Our physical therapists will create an individualized fitness program based on accommodating medical issues and achieving personal goals.

The biggest takeaway we hope you hold onto is that we believe you are NEVER too old to exercise.

How In Motion O.C. Can Help You Reach Your Senior Fitness Goals

Some effects of aging may be unavoidable, but we believe in the power of intentionality and taking control of your fitness.

At In Motion O.C. we will help you develop the tools you need to achieve your greatest health and fitness goals.

We also understand that strength can present differently from person to person.

Maybe your goal isn’t to be able to bench press 180 pounds, but instead to be able to:

  • Pick up your grandchild and put them on your lap.
  • Garden all weekend.
  • Hold your grandchild’s hand while walking through every zoo exhibit. 
  • Go on long walks with your friends and family.

No matter where you are currently in your journey, let us help you achieve your personal health and senior fitness goals.

Contact In Motion O.C. today for a free consultation.

In Motion O.C.