If you are in your 60’s and you are getting less exercise than your doctor recommends, you certainly are not alone. According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 31 million adults aged 50 or older are inactive, which increases their risk for everything from heart disease to osteoporosis.
Seniors who do work out regularly, but need an extra challenge, may be curious about boot camps. Famed for being a challenging military workout, they can actually be adapted to almost any age and fitness level!
How can Boot Camps Benefit Seniors?
Boot camps are ideal for both male and female seniors, because they comprise a wide array of exercises aimed at honing (among other elements):
- Flexibility; and
- Aerobic capacity.
A large number of seniors choose walking as their daily exercise form, but it is also important to undertaken resistance or weights workout to strengthen muscles and maintain bone density.
If you have never worked out with weights before, they may seem daunting but with a little help from your trainer, and the right technique, you can complete a full workout that strengthens important muscles such as the:
- As well as the muscles in your back.
Activities aimed at boosting flexibility (such as stretching, on the other hand), will help you stay limber or supple. Finally, those that sharpen your balance (such as standing on a gently vibrating device) will help keep falls at bay.
Boot Camps vs Stress
We have mentioned strength, flexibility, and balance are important qualities you can sharpen at boot camps.
However, this type of sustained, intense exercise is also great for seniors’ mental health. As noted by Mental Health America, over 2 million of the 34 million Americans aged 65 and above suffer from some form of depression. Seniors have many changes to reconcile, including the loss of loved ones, retirement, and changes in finance.
Exercise is a known stress buster and it has been found in many studies to aid with conditions like depression and anxiety. Moreover, boot camp style exercise is affordable for seniors, many of whom can attend dedicated groups in their local communities.
The Importance of Camaraderie
Boot camps invite you to form and be part of a community; one in which fellow boot campers support you and push you to attain healthy goals.
As noted by University of South Carolina fitness expert, Janice Newton, in the Marines, ideals like “honour, courage, and integrity” branch out into every part of daily work and life – including boot camps.
The idea is that you have a duty to yourself and your team, to give your all. After all, you know they will do the same for you. Boot camps, including intense exercise activities, such as CrossFit, are known to be particularly strong on community values.
Ensuring You Remain within Healthy Limits
If you are considering signing up for a senior adult boot camp, it is important to run the programme by your medical professional first (e.g. doctor or physiotherapist).
Depending on your health condition and fitness level, some activities may be too taxing. Each senior is completely different.
Those who are used to going for a daily run, for instance, may find running along the beach or completing an obstacle course, to be a breeze. However, seniors who have done little more than go for a gentle walk every day, should work their way up to a boot camp and obtain their medical professional’s recommendation for specific routine types.
For instance, those with knee problems should avoid routines like Zumba, which involve frequent twisting and turning. Those who have are worried about stability or who have joint conditions like osteoarthritis, meanwhile, can consider chair yoga or other workouts that enable them to lean on a chair or other equipment to guarantee greater stability.
If you are over 60 and you would love to break your personal records, try out a wide variety of routines, and discover new cardio, strength/resistance, and balancing exercises, a boot camp may be a good option for you.
Boot camps have an additional bonus you may not have envisioned: the chance to meet new people and exercise with people who will inspire you to be your best.
Make sure to get an okay from your medical professional; you may need to train a little before your first boot camp, but the results will definitely be worth it!