With 2022 just around the corner and many seniors still struggling with their weight due to COVID lockdowns, getting in shape may just top this year’s New Year’s resolutions list. But exercise may seem like a particularly daunting prospect for seniors who may have a medical condition or just feel too “old” to become more active.
Brand New Day, a Medicare Advantage prescription health plan available in 22 California counties (23 starting 2022), says there are countless benefits that can be derived by seniors opting to embark on a gentle exercise program — even those with medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, etc.
Statistics show that those aged 25-55 lose 5 lbs. of muscle each decade if exercise isn't part of one's lifestyle and that loss of muscle not only leads to weight gain but increases the chances of falling and getting injured. In addition to shedding weight, exercise keeps adherents agile, enhances balance and increases flexibility. Studies also show that regular exercise can improve the state of one’s mental health.
Among the exercises Brand New Day suggests for seniors: cardio workouts that use large muscle movement over a sustained period of time keeping the heart rate to at least 50% of its maximum level (e.g., swimming, walking, hiking, aerobics classes and dancing); strength training builds muscle and includes lifting weights, sit-ups, pull-ups, etc. (loss of muscle can contribute to many, often preventable age-related problems); balance exercises can range from standing on one leg for a period of time and walking with a book on your head to using a balance ball to increase stability (reduces likelihood of fall-related injuries); and flexibility training to boost one’s full range of motion.
Brand New Day is a subsidiary of Bright Health Group, (NYSE: BHG).