senior couple walking outside

Exercise for Chronic Conditions

September 28, 2022 4:00 pm Published by
As we age, sometimes we become less mobile, but staying active is still incredibly important. Whether you have a chronic condition or want to prevent developing one, one of the best ways to stay healthy is through consistent, maintainable physical activity. This doesn’t mean you need to be running marathons or lifting hundreds of kilos – physical activity sits on a huge spectrum with lots of options for all ages and experience levels! So, where to start?

Types of exercise for chronic conditions

While this is dependent on the condition you have, there aren’t many exercises you can’t do but rather it is about the way you do them. Some recommended exercises and activities for seniors include yoga or tai chi for flexibility and balance, light weights or water aerobics for strength and endurance, and walking and yard work for cardiovascular health.

How to modify physical activity to your limitations

‘Walk, don’t run’ has never been a better saying than in the case of exercising with chronic conditions! There are exercises for everyone and even those that may feel a little too much can be modified to suit individual circumstances.

For example, seated yoga is a great alternative to ensure joints are supported while still stretching muscles and increasing flexibility. A stationary bike can put the focus on the peddling rather than navigating or balance. Walking somewhere nice is both beneficial for your mental health and physical health, without putting pressure on bones. If you work with a trainer, they can give you more alternatives for any exercise you want to do.

How much exercise is enough?

Remember, physical activity can be anything from walking, cleaning, or gardening, to yoga, tennis, or water aerobics! But what is “enough”? The Department of Health and Aged Care suggests at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every day for people aged 65 years and over. If that seems like a lot, start small, and remember that it is about getting up and moving, however that may be.

Having a chronic condition at any age can be disheartening when you want to stay healthy and active, but it doesn’t have to be! There are lots of ways to keep active and exercise. If you need a little push, or some help finding the right activity for you, our Wellness Program could be for you.

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This post was written by Tanya Grimward

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