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Exercises & Music Games for Seniors
Exercising regularly can help you control your blood pressure and cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight and decrease your risk of injury and disease. As a result, you can enjoy a happier and healthier life with greater independence. Listening to music also has beneficial health benefits, including pain relief, improved memory and enhanced heart health. Seniors looking to combat the health effects associated with aging can double their pleasure and double their fun by combining exercise and music into games that deliver healthful rewards.
Senior Selection of Exercises
The best exercise choices for seniors are low-impact aerobics and gentle, light- weight resistance training. Cycling, walking, swimming, marching in place and basic aerobics steps, such as step touches, hamstring curls and knee raises, are all appropriate. The best resistance training exercises are ones that target the full body using low resistance bands or light dumbbells. Choose from toning exercises such as bicep curls, shoulder presses, overhead triceps extensions, chest presses, one-arm rows and squats for effective senior strength training.
Menu of Music
Many people consider music to be a motivating factor when working out. In addition to helping you get through your workout, music helps dilate the lining of your blood vessels, thus promoting more efficient blood flow. Use music to help you organize fun sessions of fitness for groups of seniors. Choose some upbeat selections and ask participants for some of their personal favorites. Also find a few entertaining pieces of music that have a male and female singer singing solo and in unison.
Battle of the Sexes
Choose one or more senior-appropriate exercises and play one of the duet selections. Instruct your group of female seniors to continuously perform a specific exercise each time the female vocalist sings. Instruct your male seniors to perform the exercise when the male vocalist sings. When the artists sing in unison, instruct the entire group to do the exercise together. This fitness game includes varied lengths of resistance training, periods of rest, a little entertainment and a lot of fun.
Music-Motivated Isometric Holds
You can also use music with a group of seniors to orchestrate a fitness game similar to musical chairs. Seniors perform a specific exercise or sequence of appropriate exercises to a selection of upbeat, motivational music. When the music stops, the group pauses, holding the position they are in until the music resumes. Not only does this game improve their fitness, it can also improve seniors' reaction time.
Mary Marcia Brown has worked in the health and fitness industry for more than 15 years. A writer and runner with road race directorship experience, Brown has been published in "Running Journal," "Florida Running & Triathlon" and "Outreach NC."