Updated: Feb 25
TV and movies might like to make it look like senior fitness is all jazzercise and stability balls, but the truth is exercise programs for older adults are taking off right now. More variety, greater accessibility, and the incorporation of digital elements is making staying fit as you age more fun and effective than ever. Check out these 5 exercise trends for seniors for 2017:
Pilates, pronounced puh-la-tees, used to be touted by celebrities as their go-to physique boosting workout, however, it is becoming more and more accessible to the public, especially seniors, as a way to stay fit and strength train. Also referred to as contrology, pilates for seniors incorporates precision and control into an array of exercise movements done on a mat or with various props and machines. Like yoga practice, Pilates has been shown to strengthen core muscles, hone flexibility and balance, promote breath control, as well as reverse bad posture. Pilates, however, involves much more resistance training and body weight exercises. Some Pilates classes for seniors are modified for sitting in a chair and lying on a mat so the options for older adults are definitely there.
Crawling has take the fitness world by storm and can play an important role in the exercise regimens of older adults as it is gentle on joints and helps tone key muscle groups. The fundamental movement of crawling on your hands and knees has been shown to exercise your sense of balance and spatial orientation, which is great for preventing falls common among adults over 65. Crawling also integrates coordination between breathing and moving multiple limbs and your head at once,. This strengthens abdominal, back and leg muscles as well as loosens joints, and boosts blood flow as you stretch important muscles.
Well if you’re going to start crawling, may as well hit the playground again! Playgrounds for seniors have taken off around the world and are slowing making their way to the U.S., now more than ever. They offer less of the swing and slide combos and more low-impact exercise equipment like stationary bicycles, walking paths, steps and arches, and adult see saws. In the same family are multi generational fitness parks which promote exercise and social interaction between kids and older adults. This engagement between generations has been shown to aid feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression which many seniors may have if they spend a lot of time alone.
As more and more Baby Boomers age into the 65+ bracket, the disposable income they bring with them in retirement is being more than welcomed at local gyms and fitness centers. Classes for seniors for everything from yoga to Zumba to Pilates, integrate valuable workout and exercise activities with a knowledge of the fundamental strengths and weaknesses older adults may have. Unique programs like SilverSneakers even offer free membership to over 13,000 participating gyms across the U.S. for seniors, making it easier and more accessible than ever to form a daily habit of staying healthy with exercise.
Wearable Fitness Technology
Need help managing your weight? Looking for extra motivation to get up and exercise everyday? Fitness technology is powering a brand new data-driven approach to fitness in which many seniors are finding great benefit. Fit Bit bracelets, Bella Beat pendants, and smart watches are all competing to be the most helpful and accessible fitness technology - tracking important vitals like heart rate while also logging steps walked each day, calories burned, even sleep patterns and nutrition. Wearable fitness technology provides convenience and encouragement for older adults looking to refresh their approach to healthy living. They can typically be purchased online or in big box stores like Wal-mart or Target.
Whether you’re looking to launch a new fitness routine or simply revamp your existing one, what’s hot for 2017 when it comes to senior exercise is bound to add a little life and pizzazz to your workouts!