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The association between growing older, often starting at age 50, and the benefits of physical fitness is known as age and exercise. Physical activity and exercise are just as vital for older people as they are for younger people. Ordinary routines or chores designed to get the body moving, such as gardening, walking the dog, raking leaves, and using the stairs instead of the elevator, are examples of physical activities. Weight training, yoga, or an aerobics class are examples of exercise.

Overview

Exercise is a type of physical activity that is carefully planned, structured, and repetitive. Regular exercise, such as walking or weightlifting, can provide various health benefits to older persons, regardless of their health, diseases, or physical limitations. Staying fit also assists older adults to preserve their independence, live longer, and have a better quality of life.

Long-term, consistent exercise can help prevent muscle loss and age-related increases in body fat. Exercise also aids in the maintenance of the body’s response time as well as its ability to efficiently distribute and use oxygen.

Getting Started

Senior individuals (those aged 50 and up) require the same amount of exercise as younger adults. However, there are a few areas where people’s abilities deteriorate as they become older. One is neck flexibility, which is necessary for looking behind you, particularly when driving. Another factor is grip strength, which makes it simpler to open jars and hold heavy objects.

Starting exercise at any age, even in their 80s, can enhance strength, endurance, and flexibility for persons who have never been physically active. It can help seniors live longer, live independently, and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and colon cancer. To begin exercising, select a pleasurable activity and set a reasonable first goal, such as walking ten minutes three times a week. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend exercising and the number of days you exercise per week.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in the United States, a combination of aerobic, strength, balance, and flexibility workouts or activities assist seniors the most. The institute also suggests gradually expanding an exercise routine to at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per day (fast walking, running, swimming, tennis, or cycling) and adding strength training two or three times per week.

Exercise Categories

Exercises for older individuals fall into four basic categories: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Some actions can be classified as belonging to more than one category. Many endurance activities, for example, also serve to build strength, and some strength exercises also aid to improve balance. Many older adults focus on a single activity or exercise, but integrating all four into a fitness plan maximizes benefits and decreases injury risk.

ENDURANCE

Endurance, or aerobic, workouts improve overall health by increasing breathing and heart rate, keeping the lungs, heart, and blood vessels (cardiovascular system) healthy. Many diseases that are frequent in older persons, including diabetes and heart disease, are delayed, prevented, or reduced as a result of this. Physical endurance can help you do routine tasks more easily. Brisk walking, jogging, yard work (mowing, raking, and digging), dancing, swimming, biking, hiking, climbing, tennis, and basketball are all endurance exercises and hobbies.

STRENGTH

Muscle size and strength are increased via strength (resistance) exercises. Even light strength exercise assists older folks with everyday activities like climbing stairs, carrying groceries, and doing house and yard chores by toning essential muscles. Lifting free weights (barbells and dumbbells), using a resistance band, and using resistance machines at the gym, fitness club, or at home are all examples of strength workouts. Pushups, sit-ups, and pull-ups are examples of non-machine strengthening workouts.

BALANCE

Balance exercises aid in the prevention of falls, which are common among the elderly. Standing on one foot (alternating between feet), walking heel to toe, yoga, and the martial art of tai chi are all good ways to enhance balance.

FLEXIBILITY

Flexibility exercises help the body stay limber by stretching the muscles. More freedom of movement, a larger range of motion, and improved ability to conduct everyday activities are all benefits of increased flexibility. It can also help to improve posture, coordination, and blood circulation. Stretching, especially of the shoulder, upper arm, and calf muscles, yoga, tai chi, aikido, and chi kung are all good flexibility exercises. It also serves as a wonderful warm-up and cool-down routine for other exercises.

Benefits

Regular exercise in older adults can help:

  • keep your physical strength and fitness up to date and develop it
  • increase one’s capacity to perform everyday physical duties
  • improve balance, stamina, and flexibility
  • manage and improve diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis
  • improve mental health, prevent or improve depression, and elevate mood and overall well-being
  • increase your ability to switch tasks rapidly, sort information, and plan activities

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