Mind and body exercise

Your local hospital or fitness, recreation, or community center may offer classes such as yoga, tai chi, or Pilates. You also may find some of these workouts online and can download them to a computer, smart phone, or other device. These types of activities may help you:

  • become stronger and more flexible
  • feel more relaxed
  • improve balance and posture

These classes also can be a lot of fun and add variety to your workout routine. If some movements are hard to do or you have injuries you are concerned about, talk with the instructor about how to adapt the exercises and poses to meet your needs—or start with a beginner’s class.

Here is the first of our week of stretches:

National Learn to Swim Day

National Learn to Swim Day is observed annually on the third Saturday in May. This day is dedicated to educating parents and children about water safety. Before Memorial Day Weekend and the start of summer, it is an opportunity for families to learn the importance and benefits of learning to swim. While swimming is enjoyed by all ages the year-round, summer is a time when we take to the lakes, rivers and outdoor pools. Because of the risks involved when one is in the water, safety and knowledge, from the earliest age, is vital.

Strength training

Strength training involves using free weights, weightlifting machines, resistance bands, or your own body weight to make your muscles stronger. Lower-body strength training will improve your balance and prevent falls.

Strength training may help you:

  • build and maintain strong muscles as you get older
  • continue to perform activities of daily living, such as carrying groceries or moving furniture
  • keep your bones strong, which may help prevent osteoporosis  and fractures

If you are just starting out, using a weightlifting machine may be safer than dumbbells. As you get fit, you may want to add free-weight exercises with dumbbells.

You do not need a weight bench or large dumbbells to do strength training at home. You can use a pair of hand weights to do bicep curls. You can also use your own body weight: for example, get up and down from a chair.

Strength training may help you build and maintain stronger muscles as you get older.

Proper form is very important when lifting weights. You may hurt yourself if you don’t lift weights properly. You may want to schedule a session with a certified fitness professional to learn which exercises to do and how to do them safely. Check with your health insurer about whether your health plan covers these services.

If you decide to buy a home gym, check how much weight it can support to make sure it is safe for you.

Strength-training tips:

  • Aim for at least two days per week of strengthen-training activities.
  • Try to perform each exercise 8 to 12 times. If that’s too hard, the weight you are lifting is too heavy. If it’s too easy, your weight is too light.
  • Try to exercise all the major muscle groups. These groups include the muscles of the legs, hips, chest, back, abdomen, shoulders, and arms.
  • Don’t work the same muscles two days in a row. Your muscles need time to recover.