Article Contributor: AW
Gone are the days when many seniors thought that going to the gym or even working out at home in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah or RAK was probably too difficult.
Senior fitness in the UAE is big business and more gyms now provide specialist services targeted towards seniors including fitness classes, 1-2-1 coaching and even teaching services about the importance of proper nutrition etc.
If you’re a senior in the UAE one of the best ways to start your health and fitness journey is to hire a senior fitness personal trainer because they will have the specialist skills you need in order to exercise safely and make sure you train correctly.
There are so many different training and exercise methods that can easily be enjoyed by seniors. Being fit, staying in great shape and even trying out a new workout is not reserved for the young. Most training programs can be enjoyed by all ages as long as sensible advice is followed.
There are many studies from around the world like the one found here that prove, without doubt, that staying fit through exercise as we age can help prevent serious illness and even premature death.
In this article we hope to provide you with some great tips and advice about senior fitness in the UAE.
If you need further advice or if you are looking for a personal trainer that specialises in senior and elderly fitness in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Sharjah you’ll find male and female coaches on the UAE Personal Trainers website who can help.
Cardio based fitness programs are not just about losing weight. Yes, a good cardio workout can help you lose weight and of course manage weight.
But, cardio training is about so much more. The key is in the title. Cardio training means cardiovascular training which helps in many way.
A good cardio training program in the UAE gets your blood pumping and increases your breathing. This increased blood pumping helps to give your heart a great workout but it also helps to pump more oxygen rich blood to the muscles.
The more cardio seniors and the elderly do the stronger their heart and cardiovascular system become.
Unless you have been advised by a medical professional not to do too much cardio fitness there is no reason why seniors and the elderly in the UAE can’t do some form of cardio workout.
Of course, like any exercise program you need to take some precautions. If you are completely new to training and exercise then you will need to start slowly and build your cardio fitness levels progressively. This is why you should use a senior fitness personal trainer when starting out and also seek medical advice just to be on the safe side.
As we mentioned above. Most cardio fitness programs are suitable for seniors as long as you start slowly and listen to your body. If you feel pain or discomfort then stop. You can always find another cardio routine that will be more suitable.
Some examples of cardio workouts include:
Recent research, like the study found here suggests that strength training as we age is as important as cardio fitness.
There are a few different terms used when we refer to strength training.
You might have heard it called weight lifting, weight training, resistance training and more but all these terms refer to putting external resistance on the muscles to help them increase in size and performance.
You can even do strength training without using weights and training machines by doing body weight exercises which help keep your body toned and flexible too.
If you don’t use it you’ll lose it is a common saying and to a certain degree that’s true for strength training too. In a sedentary society like the UAE seniors can spend a long time doing not much at all. As we age this can progress to muscle wasting through lack of activity.
Of course not all seniors are inactive. Many lead fit and active lives but even for them adding more strength training does help.
As long as you don’t overdo it there are plenty of ways to increase your muscular strength.
Strength training is not just about lifting weights as many people seem to think. You don’t need to go to the gym and lift a barbell that’s twice the size of you to improve your strength.
It’s also a good idea to focus on all areas of the body and not just your arm or back strength. Having stronger legs plays a huge role in mobility too.
Strength training in the UAE for seniors is very important. It helps retain muscle which can help many seniors and the elderly continue to lead independent lives.
Many seniors and the elderly have some mobility problems. Although there are many reasons for this sometimes this is just because of a weakness in the muscles.
Starting strength exercises early can help to prevent problems but there is no reason why you can’t start now and build up your strength gradually.
Strength exercises, resistance training and more will help you become more mobile, decrease aches and pains, increase bone density and of course helps with physical appearance too.
Everyday tasks like grocery shopping, climbing the stairs, cleaning the house and more can become easier which helps many seniors and the elderly lead more independent lives.
There are plenty of strength training classes in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah which have been created especially for seniors. Joining such as class will also help you get out more and enjoy the social element of exercise too.
Balance and flexibility exercises provide great benefits for seniors and the elderly.
For one thing, improving balance can help to prevents falls which can have serious consequences.
Flexibility exercises can help alleviate aches and pains that are sometimes associated with ageing too like arthritis, stiff joints and muscle cramps.
Keeping flexible and well balanced also helps many seniors remain independent with age too because it can help with mobility.
Flexibility and balance exercise are suitable for all ages. They are particularly suited to older people because most of them are considered ‘low impact’ types of exercise which do not place too much stress on the muscles or joints.
Yoga. Well known for improving flexibility, Yoga can be enjoyed at any age. For seniors, Yoga provides a great way to improve flexibility through gentle poses which don’t place too much stress on the muscles.
You don’t need experience and you definitely don’t need to be super flexible to start doing Yoga in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah. Professional yoga coaches can customise their programs to suit all ages and abilities.
As well as being a great way to improve flexibility and balance Yoga can also provide mental health benefits too. And, seniors who attend Yoga classes in the UAE enjoy the social interaction benefit too.
Pilates. You might think you need to be slim and flexible to do Pilates but again this is a misconception. At some point everyone who does Pilates was a beginner and the same applies to seniors. If balance improvement is important to you then Pilates will definitely help.
It can help with lower body balance, helping you feel more steady on your feet and also improve the blood flow to your muscles.
Pilates, like Yoga is a great way to add stretching to your workout routine. Stretching really helps to loosen tight muscles, especially in the morning.
Tai Chi. So popular in the far east, Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese exercise method that is perfect for seniors. In China you often see large groups of seniors and the elderly in parks doing their morning Tai Chi practice. With it’s sequence of moves it helps to stimulate blood flow to all the major organs and muscles and increases your alertness for the rest of the day.
You don’t need experience to learn how to do basic Tai Chi moves. A Tai Chi personal trainer or group fitness coach in the UAE can help.
Swimming. One of the best ways for seniors to keep fit, swimming is another low impact exercise that can help with flexibility. The reason is that swimming for fitness in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Sharjah provides a whole body workout. You’ll be exercising most of the major muscle groups in a gentle way which improves overall flexibility.
Ever heard the term ‘stop and take a breath’? There’s a good reason why people say this. When your anxious, upset or just frustrated about something if you stop, breath deeply a few times you’ll feel a sense of calm and composure.
Breathing exercises for seniors help in the same way. For years, breathing techniques have been used by Yoga teachers and even doctors to provide clients with a sense of calm.
But, working on your breathing has other benefits too. As well as helping you feel calm in stressful situations focusing on your breathing can help improve your cardio health and improve your circulation too. It also increases mental clarity.
Controlling your breath isn’t an alternative to pain medication. However, aches and pains that are an unfortunate part of ageing can be managed to a certain degree with improved breathing. Focus on your breath and breath deeply.
Senior health and fitness isn’t just about being fit physically.
Social contact can also be a challenge for many seniors in the UAE which can lead to a decline in mental health, depression and more.
Fitness clubs provide a great combination of social activity ‘and’ physical fitness and they are in abundance in the UAE. Everything ranging from swimming lessons for groups to Zumba classes.
There are many other ways to keep active and mobile too.
Sleep is often an overlooked part of leading a fit and healthy life for seniors in the UAE.
Many people say, the older you get the less sleep you need but this isn’t really true. Even seniors and the elderly should try to get at least 7 – 8 hours of quality sleep per night.
The quality of sleep counts too. A restless night doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not sleeping but your sleep patterns might be erratic, dosing for an hour or two and then waking up.
Not sleeping well has been proven to have a direct impact on both physical and mental health and while intermittent periods of sleeplessness are normal chronic sleep problems can have a detrimental effect to seniors.
You know when you’ve had a great nights sleep, you wake up feeling refreshed and alert. The opposite occurs when you have a bad night.
Sleep problems not only have an impact on how you feel in the morning. Extended periods of lack of sleep effect how you feel the entire day. You might suffer from a lack of energy, lack of focus and not think as clearly as you normally would.
Of course this article is here to provide guidance only. If you continue to suffer from a lack of sleep (known as chronic sleeplessness) you should seek advice from your medical professional in the UAE.
Ultimately, there is no upper age limit when it comes to exercise and fitness for seniors in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah or Ras Al Khaimah. The kind of exercise you can do might change with age but if you follow sensible advice you can remain active and healthy well into your senior years.
Sometimes senior and elderly fitness needs to be done with caution so it’s always a good idea to find a Senior Fitness Personal Trainer in your local area for advice and support.
While there might be certain exercises and exercise types that are clearly unsuitable for seniors in the UAE there are still so many way to get fit or stay in shape. It’s never too late to learn something new.