Advice from the doctors that being active is the secret to good health and preventing the onset of diseases. It can help the elderly reduce the risk of cancer and heart illnesses. For some elderly people, just walking up the stairs can be very difficult.
However you feel or whatever you are having we are going to give you some useful tips in this article that will help you keep moving in living a healthy life.
How and why physical activity will help you.
Having a chronic or long term condition can change the way it is affecting you daily. When it comes to physical exercise the small accomplishments are important.
Physical exercise is beneficial to your health and it helps you live a longer and healthy life. It is important to make it part of your daily routine. There are thousands of studies conducted that prove the benefits of exercise and it is important to make it part of our lives upon aging. Regular exercise among seniors improves the physical and mental health and improves your independence as you grow old. Here are some benefits of physical activity.
Regular physical activity prevents common diseases like diabetes and heart disease. It improves the immune system which is important for seniors since it declines upon aging. Simple exercises like walking or climbing the stairs play a very big role in preventing diseases.
Boosting mental health
Exercises have the endless benefit of improving mental health. It produces endorphins which relieve stress and leaves you with a good feeling. Exercising improves sleep which is important for seniors who have insomnia and an irregular sleep pattern.
It decreases falling risks
Falls are very common among seniors which can reduce the level of independence. Physical activity improves coordination and balance reducing the chances of falls. Senior people take longer to heal from falls so frequent exercising helps prevent this.
Improves social life.
Physical activity can be made fun by joining a walking club or gardening club. Having an active social life is important for seniors to feel important and avoid depression and loneliness. Find any kind of exercise that suits you and it will not feel like hard work.
Boosts cognitive functions
Excellent motor skills and physical activity improve cognitive ability. Many studies have shown a reduced risk of dementia for regular working out people despite when you start your routine.
Healthy bone density
Exercising helps improve bone structure and density and prevent the development of fractures and osteoporosis.
Loose or maintain weight.
Due to slow metabolism as we age maintaining a healthy body weight can be a challenge.
It improves the gastrointestinal activity
Regular physical activity boosts the elimination of waste from the intestines encouraging good digestive health. It helps people suffering from constipation and slow digestion.
Regular physical activity is good for you and it is only a matter of making it a daily routine.
How much physical exercise should a senior perform?
The recommended time is two and a half hours of moderate aerobic exercises and muscle building exercises with increasing the intensity as you move along. When working out moderately your heart rate and breathing are faster and you have a warm feeling. The goal is to ensure that you spend less time doing nothing.
Recommended types of exercises.
Endurance and Aerobic exercises.
This measures how strong and healthy your lungs and heart are. Aging lowers down your aerobic activity. You can reduce this by performing any activity that increases your heart rate. Aerobics can be done anytime and anywhere. You can go to the gym, take the stairs, ride a bike to the mall, swimming, or even mow the lawn.
Resistance and strengthening exercises.
As you age your muscles lose strength but this process can be reversed. You can perform strengthening exercises to build up your muscles and prevent the risk of falls. You can do some balance and stretching exercises that will help you gain more benefits. You can do some tai chi, yoga, do some sit up or push ups, do some digging in the garden, or lifting some weights in the gym.
Flexibility and stretching exercises.
Stretching is important when exercising. It helps muscles warm-up and cool down, prevents injury during intensive workouts, reduces muscle stiffness and soreness, and helps improve and maintain flexibility. It can also be used for mediation and help know how a person’s body is feeling. Exercises like Pilates and yoga help improve flexibility.
Some simple exercises you can do by yourself.
You do not have to break a sweat if you are being more active. You just need to move more every day in ways that work well for you. You can check out the activities below.
Stand up about once an hour if you spend most of your day seated down. You can also move your legs and arms regularly if standing will not help.
Stand without help or support.
Stand up alone from a sitting position without using any support from anyone or an object. Cross your arms and sit on a seat without an armrest. Lean forward and put weight on your feet. Straighten your knees and stand up. Seat again and repeat this couple of times. Do this three to five times daily.
Do some gentle stretches.
While lying down or seating point your toes towards the ground and bring them closer to your shin. Repeat the process with both feet. Lift your legs from the feet while seated on a seat and keep your knees bent. Repeat this position several times. Bend your knees while seated on a seat with your feet flat on the floor.
Walk from one room to another.
Walk from room to room without any support and monitor how long it takes you. Try to lessen the time every day.
How to encourage elder people to exercise
Just like the rest of us the elderly people may know the benefits of exercise but may lack the motivation of doing it. We can guide and encourage them by enquiring about their daily routine and whether they exercise regularly. You can use the methods below:
- Inform them that exercising regularly like muscle strengthening, endurance, flexibility, and balance is important for successful aging.
- Help the elderly make a physical activity plan and set realistic goals.
- Connect the elderly to community help groups like mall walking groups and gardening groups.
- Write a workout plan, make it specific, and include different types of physical activity, intensity, and frequency. Check out the progress and change the goals over some time.
- Try shock therapy or scare tactics. However, this is a poor motivator. You can try out explaining how vulnerable to diseases the aging population is. Come up with factual statistics of the diseases the seniors are susceptible to.
- Try to eliminate their excuses by buying a treadmill and some weights. Encourage them to walk on the treadmill while watching their favorite morning show. You can also workout alongside them to show them how easy it is to do some physical activity.
- You can also provide rewards. When your loved one has completed a physical activity reward them with a ticket to a sports activity or a gift card to use at a local mall. The thought of receiving a reward motivates the elderly to work out even more.
In conclusion, there can be seniors whose exercising ability is limited by medical conditions. They need to exercise more carefully as compared to others. With proper guidance and instruction, they can engage in physical activities that improve their strength and mobility. Therefore, before starting a physical activity or routine consultation with a physician is mandatory. Recommendations will be made by the physician on the appropriate exercises and those to be avoided.