Elderly fitness is a vital component to living longer and feeling stronger well into your old age. And in almost all studies exercise proves to improve your cardiovascular health, stamina and bone density. At the same time, exercise also reduces the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity.
All of these health benefits are crucial for everyone. However, they’re especially important for older folks who are in fact, aging. Like it or not, as you age your body starts to lose muscle mass, strength, bone density, agility, endurance, and balance.
You’re pretty much up against gravity and time. It’s a battle you cannot win, so you might as well go with it and attempt to live a healthy, preventative lifestyle. If you keep fit over the long term you’ll get to enjoy the feeling of independence and optimal health. It’s a goal you should set out to achieve.
Elderly Fitness Means Aging Better
Having said that, elderly fitness is different from that of a 20-year-old. Instead of pushing yourself to your limits in a hardcore HIIT session, elderly fitness means incorporating activity gradually into your daily life. There are certain exercises that older adults should focus on, But, the most important thing is that these exercises are fun and something you can sustain, Whether you choose to walk, participate in water aerobics, yoga, dance, tai chi or simple stretching.
Therefore, elderly fitness must have a strong focus on building strength throughout the whole body. To build the strength to complete these everyday tasks, you’ll need to incorporate different leg exercises, such as squat exercises, using leg press machines and lunges. The strength needed to complete these everyday tasks can be achieved through the use of various leg exercises. However, it does also depend on the person. If you’re relatively strong already, then you can try adding a few weights to hold onto so you can create a powerful stimulus straight to the muscles you want to target.
Reduce The Risk Of Falling
Moreover, we see a lot of older adults taking falls in their mature years. And as the doctors always say, ‘Once you’ve had a bad fall, you’re never quite the same again.’ To do avoid this later in life, you need to concentrate on building lower body strength. This ensures walking ability and reduces the risk of falling.
Therefore, you need to implement a lot of functional exercises into your fitness routine. And if you’re strong enough then you should incorporate exercises that involve picking up a medicine ball or a kettlebell from the ground. Adding weights is a fantastic way to create a similar simulation to the daily tasks you might encounter.
In fact, doctors say that falls are the biggest concern because there’s a direct correlation between falling later in life and life expectancy. A 2017 study in the Journal of Internal Medicine discovered that one-third of adults over age 50 who fracture a hip die within 12 months of that injury. In addition, the hip fractures are usually very painful and reduce your mobility significantly.
Therefore, exercising is important but it must take falling into consideration. You might be exercising and putting yourself at risk of falling. This means that whatever fitness you choose to participate in, it must focus on strength and mobility. And not just getting you ‘fit.’
Strength And Mobility Are Key
Many elderly folks live in retirement villages or some kind of community. The problem for many is that it can be tricky to engage in exercise with the support of a one-on-one therapist. Certain exercises are just not suited to older adults because they might actually increase your risk of falling or getting injured. That’s the issue – creating a happy balance between keeping fit and the need to mobility. That’s why more community facilities need to start ensuring the necessary elderly fitness routine and exercises for their residents.
A lot of people choose to avoid exercise or going for walks out of fear of falling. Therefore, the activities need to be safe for them and must make them feel comfortable to move. It’s important to focus on mobility and encourage residents to maintain their walking.
Your Family Can Help
Health experts believe that the families of older folk need to step up to the plate. In fact, they’ve got a massive responsibility to helping their older relatives stay active. If you’ve got an elderly loved one, then it’s your duty to help them stay strong and mobile for longer.
A great way to do this is to organize exercise classes and events. When the family is there, you can ensure that your family member walks more. This kind of support and encouragement can go a long way toward helping a loved one maintain mobility and independence.
However, I feel that the activities must correlate with your loved one’s preferences, capabilities, and interests. You do not want to force them into doing things they hate. This will never be sustained. It helps to establish what their current activity level is before starting a new programme. Perhaps your relative is an avid walker. Do they have a sponsored and hosted group that goes walking every day?
It all depends on their level. You could investigate some senior communities that have resident-led walking groups in the morning. If you’re strong enough and fit enough to walk, then this is an amazing way to keep active. There is also a really great social opportunity in these groups and might be a chance to meet new people.
Social Interaction Keeps You Young
Remember, staying fit isn’t the only important factor. Making new friends and networking is what keeps us alive. Therefore, mingling can be a vital component to your elderly fitness routine. Sure, you need to get the blood pumping. And of course, maintain a good range of motion. However, it’s also healthy for your soul to engage in some social activity. Exercise has been shown to be helpful in combating depression, and so has reducing social isolation.
That’s why I’d strongly recommend the idea of group fitness classes for seniors. These often involve stretching or yoga and gentle movements. These amazing classes provide benefits through relaxation and improve range of motion.
But most importantly, the degree of intensity of the exercises entirely depends on where you are (physically) and what kinds of programs you have access to. Generally speaking, you would likely need to stick to a lighter intensity.
Rehabilitation And Modifications
There are a variety of factors to take into consideration, most of all your age. Come on, let’s face it, you’re not going to stay a spring chicken forever. If you are somebody living in a nursing home, then you might require more intensive rehabilitation before attending group classes.
But the ultimate goal of any exercise program for older adults should be on improving or maintaining day-to-day function and quality of life. And for this reason, most communities offer exercises that are focused on helping people maintain mobility while reducing the risk of falling. Seniors who are a fall risk may be able to engage in modified exercises while seated.
Strength Training And Cardiovascular Fitness
Strength training is key, but doing regular cardio is also very beneficial. Especially for elderly fitness and those adults who need to face a lot of stairs in day-to-day life. However, if you’re just getting up a few stairs in your house then you’ll require strength more than anything else. Cardio is amazing for boosting your endurance and stamina and might help those who need to walk or climb long distances or heights.
The bottom line. Exercise is supposed to be a lifestyle and something you engage in throughout your life consistently. Those who have been active throughout, are more likely to be strong and mobile than those who start from scratch. Strength training, balance work, yoga, walking are all activities that can help you lead a longer, less frail life. When you are strong, you are able to avoid major injuries or falls.
Ultimately, the younger you start engaging in exercise – the better. More young people need to strength train. There would be fewer falls and injuries in elderly folk. Despite the negative cultural connotations associated with strength training. Some of these associations imply that it is only suited to body-builders. However, that is not what the focus of strength training is.
Strength training is about helping you maintain function as long as possible. Because the stronger you are, the more likely you’re going to be able to have longevity. Elderly fitness comes from fitness being a lifestyle.
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