What are Senior Aerobics?

K. Testa

Senior aerobics are fitness classes and activities intended for older adults. According to experts on aging, there are many benefits to staying physically active into one’s later years. The fact that people are living longer, coupled with advances in modern health care, has encouraged many seniors to try to stay in good physical shape.

Doctors can often recommend a safe and effective aerobics program for seniors.
Doctors can often recommend a safe and effective aerobics program for seniors.

Many fitness professionals recognize this, and, therefore, often encourage people to try different types of senior aerobics programs. Since they often have health and fitness issues that differ from those of younger people, many seniors opt to participate in exercise programs that are more likely to address their particular needs. Some popular examples include low-impact aerobic dance classes, or water aerobics.

Some fitness classes are aimed specifically at senior adults.
Some fitness classes are aimed specifically at senior adults.

Most health professionals agree that exercise promotes good health in general, and can aid in preventing certain medical problems, like heart disease. Aerobic exercise can also assist people who want to maintain or lose weight, and it can reduce the risk of injury. Another benefit to seniors is that it can help them retain their feelings of independence and self-sufficiency. Participating in senior aerobics programs can also keep people feeling active and social, potentially helping them avoid loneliness and depression.

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Some seniors may feel that they should limit their physical activity, in order to avoid injuring themselves. In contrast, health experts generally recommend that people remain active as long as possible. When class instructors are properly trained, doctors argue, there is no reason that seniors should not attend aerobic kickboxing, step, or any other class that they might enjoy. Aside from traditional aerobics classes, some beneficial aerobic activities for seniors could also include walking, swimming, dancing, biking, or playing tennis.

Senior aerobics classes are often designed with older adults’ unique health concerns in mind. For instance, older people often have decreased flexibility and bone strength. Therefore, their aerobics routines might include more stretching and warming up than classes designed for younger participants. Mature adults might also want to focus on low-impact aerobics routines and avoid activities that stress their knees, hips, or other joints. Aerobics instructors usually try to be mindful of these issues in such classes.

Older people have many options when deciding where to work out. Some might enjoy working out at home, alone with a DVD or a private trainer. Others might prefer to take group classes at a commercial gym or health club. Additional locations that typically offer senior aerobics programs include local hospitals and university fitness centers. Regardless of where they choose to exercise, seniors may want to check in regularly with their physicians, in order to address any health issues related to aerobics training.

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