4 Exercises Perfect for Women Over 55

Most of us know that staying active is key to optimal health, however as we age, exercise becomes an imperative tool for preventive health measures. Benefits of exercise include lowered blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, prevention of osteoporosis, weight management and cancer prevention. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy women over 55 get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise on all or most days of the week. Here are some simple activity options to try.

Walking

Walking is one of the best exercises for older women. It can be done anywhere — indoors or outdoors. In the winter, it can be done in a mall and in the summer, in nature or just around your neighborhood. Walking briskly gets the blood pumping and gets the limbs moving. To gauge whether you are walking at a brisk-enough pace, consider your ability to talk with others. You should be able to carry on a conversation. If not, you are working too hard. If you can sing a tune, you are not working hard enough.

Elliptical

Sometimes women over 55 have joint problems, making walking too painful. When this is the case, the elliptical trainer provides an acceptable alternative. Using an elliptical trainer provides the same benefits as walking, but it is easy on the joints. To use one, you should warm up for five minutes and be sure to breathe, relax your neck and shoulders, and allow your arms to move freely. Do not use the hand rails for support, but you can lightly rest your hands on them. Women who have issues with balance should consult their doctor before using an elliptical trainer.

Cycling

Cycling is a great way to get a good workout and to be in nature while breathing in fresh air and feeling sunshine. For those who cannot ride a regular bicycle due to recent surgery or other reasons, a recumbent stationary bicycle might be a better bet. You should warm up for five minutes at the beginning of your biking session, and if you can find a partner, it might make it more fun and easier to do on a regular basis, something that can be said for any type of exercise.

Yoga

Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise that is suitable for women over the age of 55. Many relaxing yoga poses can be practiced, and most poses can generally be altered to suit an individual’s needs if she has physical challenges such as painful joints or a bad back. Women can either sign up for classes at a yoga studio, or they can purchase a yoga video and do their workouts at home. Yoga has been shown to reduce blood pressure, increase flexibility, improve blood flow and boost the immune system.