A Comprehensive Guide to Senior Exercise

Aging is inevitable, but you can do so successfully. The healthier, more fit and active you are, the better you’ll feel as you approach your senior years.

 

The Aging Population

The United States Department of Health & Human Services Administration predicts that there will be over 72 million individuals over the age of 65 by 2030, which is 19% of the entire population. By 2040, individuals over 85 are expected to be 14.1 million. Senior Care Centres are on the increase to ensure that our ageing population are taken care of in the best possible way, whether that is support at home or residential care.

It is Never Too Late Too Late to Start Working Out

Exercise is imperative if you want to age successfully. It is never too late to embark on a workout regime. In this post, we are going to take a look at how the body ages, the advantages of working out in senior years as well as tips on getting started on your fitness regime.

What Happens to The Muscles as You Age?

Well, muscle mass simply decreases as you get older. Between age 30 and 80, the average person loses up to 15% of their lean muscle mass, which leads to a lower metabolic rate as the years pass. Maintaining muscle mass and strength asset in burning calories to maintaining an ideal weight, restores balance and strengthens your bones.

Also, it is never too late to work out and build muscle mass. The body responds to strength training, regardless of the age. This form of training can help alleviate symptoms of common issues that seniors encounter like diabetes, arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis, depression and back pain.

How to Get Stronger Without Building Muscle
 
 
Contrary to popular belief, strength does not just involve building huge muscles. Weight lifting a several times per-week can boost your strength by building lean muscle. According to studies, lifting weights for even 2 or 3 times per week can increase bone density, balance and overall strength. It can even reduce the risk of falls, which is common in elderly people.

What Happens to Endurance as You Age?
 
Similar to a decline in muscle mass, endurance tends to reduce as you age. Fortunately, the body ideally responds properly to endurance training with activities like walking. Any task that increases breathing and heart rate for an extended period is known as cardio or endurance exercise. Other examples of endurance training activities include cycling, swimming dancing and playing tennis.

What Happens to Balance as You Age?

Balance also tends to decrease and this increases the chances of falling, which can lead to severe consequences. According to the National Insitute of Health, more than a third of seniors fall each year, usually resulting in injuries like hip fractures, a primary cause of surgeries and disabilities. Strength and balance exercises can help maintain your balance and decrease the risk of falling.

What Happens to Flexibility as You Get Older?

Along with endurance and muscle mass, flexibility ideally decreases as you age. However, it can also be improved, even if you are 65 or above. Improved flexibility means that you will have more movement freedom and greater motion range. Regions to pay more attention are the ankles, wrists, elbows, hips, shoulders and wrists.

What Happens to Bones as You Get Older?

Well, bone density is known to reduce as a person ages and can result in osteoporosis, a condition where bones become weak, fragile and more prone to fractures. According to research, over 40 million Americans either have or are at risk of the condition, and it’s more common in women than men. Working out can increase your bone density and strength. Weight-bearing activities are especially useful as they force your bones to work harder.

What Happens to The Joints as You Age?

Osteoarthritis is known to become more common as people age. This is a condition where the cartilage between joints breaks down, leading to loss of joint movement, stiffness and pain. It is a serious and unfortunately a common one as around 27 million individuals in the US suffer from it. The best way to manage this condition is by maintaining a healthy weight and staying active. Lack of movement leads to stiffness and being overweight puts unnecessary pressure on the joints.

Does Working Out Improve Cognitive Function?

Yes. According to studies, regular physical activity slows memory decline and protects you from dementia.

Can Working Out Improve Mood?

Depression is one of the most common conditions in the elderly, but working out can help alleviate its symptoms. Exercising increases the production of serotonin the brain, which results in a better mood and less depression.

How Much Exercise Is Needed for Fitness and Health?

The American Heart Association and American College of Sports Medicine recommend exercise for the senior people.

Tips for Getting Started

Before embarking on any fitness regime, it is important to consult your doctor and discuss what exercises are best for you. It is important to start slow and level up gradually, and doing too much, given your age can lead to injury. Even a 10-minute walk is an excellent starting point, and you can build from there. It’s also smart to motivate yourself with goals.

Create a Weekly Workout Plan

If you schedule your workouts, you are more likely to stick to the regime. Try to be consistent and find days and times that are ideal for you. It does not matter how much you do at the start, just go out there and do it.

Cardio

Any task that increases your breathing and heart rate for an extended period is known as cardio or endurance exercises. These workouts are excellent for your lungs, heart and the circulatory system. Endurance lends you stamina for day to day activities and can prevent numerous age-related conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Examples of cardio include swimming, cycling, walking running, dancing, tennis and aerobic classes. Numerous gyms, as well as senior care centers, offer workout classes for the elderly. Keep in mind that this form of training does not need to be strenuous in order to be beneficial.

Flexibility Workouts

These help stretch your muscles and the surrounding tissues. Stretching can help prevent falls as well as injuries. One of the best and least risky ways of improving flexibility is yoga. There are numerous types of yoga and so, you can get one that suits your requirements. Both yoga studios and gyms offer these classes. You can ideally do it at home with the help of books, video tutorials and even fitness apps.

Strength & Resistance Workouts

These not only make you stronger but help you keep your ability to perform daily tasks. These exercises can also increase your metabolism, thus helping you maintain a healthy weight. Strength workouts ideally play a key role in keeping blood sugar levels balanced, which is essential in preventing obesity and diabetes. These workouts can also help prevent osteoporosis as they help maintain strong bones.

Balance Exercises

Balance and stability are essential when it comes to preventing falls, which are a primary cause of broken hips in the seniors. However, when doing balance workouts, it is important to hold on to something that can support you or have someone close who can help in time if you lose balance. Most senior centers offer balance workout classes, and your physician can recommend workouts that are ideal for your age and condition.
Regardless of your age, exercise is good for you. You can benefit from all these forms of exercise, and it is never too late to start. If you want to be mobile, independent and flexible in your senior years, then it is advisable that you start today.
 
 
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