August 18, 2023

Four key exercises with the Mary Schwartz Summit’s Dani Agravante

Physical activity is one of the most important habits an older adult can build into their daily regimen. Staying active can prevent many of the health problems that come with age and help seniors stay independent and confident completing their day-to-day activities.

There are four different types of exercise (endurance, strength, balance, flexibility) that are helpful for seniors. Each of these types of exercise has different health benefits, and using a mix of each of them helps reduce boredom and risk of injury.

At the Mary Schwartz Summit, our fitness coordinator, Dani Agravante, helps our residents keep up a normal regimen of exercises in our state-of-the-art Fitness Center. Dani helped us put together a quick breakdown of each exercise type so you can keep yourself in tip-top shape:

Endurance: Endurance activities increase your breathing and heart rate and are often referred to as aerobic workouts. You can build endurance through brisk walking, biking, yard work, swimming, playing pickleball, or any other low intensity activity. Aim for 150 minutes of endurance activities per week (30 minutes per day, 5 days a week) and remember not to overdo it! If you’re breathing hard, it’s already working. Endurance activities should not cause dizziness, pressure, or pain.

Strength: Building and maintaining muscular strength is critical for seniors. It makes daily activities a breeze and decreases the likelihood of fall-related injuries. Many people think about strength training as something that requires heavy weights, but exercising with your simple body weight or some light resistance bands can make a world of difference. Carrying groceries, lifting your body out of a chair, gripping a tennis ball, or doing wall pushups are all great examples of ways that you can build strength at home. And remember to breathe regularly during strength exercises!

Balance: Balancing exercises are one of the best tools to prevent falls, which are a common problem with serious repercussions. Improving your balance can start with exercises as simple as standing up/sitting down in a chair (assisted or alone) or balancing on one foot while holding onto your kitchen counter. Don’t be too intimidated to try out a beginner yoga class either, it’s easier than you think!

Flexibility: From reaching your favorite snack in the back of the pantry to picking up after a grandchild, flexibility makes almost everything in life easier. By making simple stretching exercises a part of your normal routine, you can increase your flexibility and improve your quality of life. Try starting slow with a couple of different seated stretches before graduating to standing stretches, and remember to breathe normally and never stretch so far that it hurts.