As seniors, fitness is essential for staying mobile and active, and can even help lower your risk or help improve certain health conditions. Certain physical activities and specific regimens can even make quality of life better by reducing falls and improving balance.
In the article “The Importance of Health and Fitness for Seniors” by BistroMD.com, they discuss the trends of this growing demographic and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Health and fitness routines are stressed across all lifespans. And though activity may be modified to accommodate age, physical restraints, ailments, and conditions, all forms of exercisers are respected. Seniors can truly benefit from healthy habits and physical activity.
The Importance of Health and Fitness for Seniors
With advancing age comes inevitable body changes, but partaking in exercise can prevent or delay diseases and improve the health of many seniors. Metabolism is known to slow down with each birthday that passes, making weight that much easier to gain. Unfortunately, most seniors experience a shift in their body composition – an increased fat mass with reduced lean body mass and muscle strength. Seniors, especially women, may also have reduced bone strength, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
That being said, a well-rounded exercise regimen can reduce these age-related changes. Strength training and weight-bearing exercises can keep both muscles and bones strong. The strength of each can keep seniors more independent for completing day-to-day functions – cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. Paired with stretching and balance exercises, the risk of falls may also be reduced. And if one were to fall, strong bones reduces the risk of bone fractures.
But senior fitness not only offers physical benefits. These individuals who exercise may have improved brain health. Keeping seniors at home not only reduces healthcare costs (from nursing homes, hospitalizations, etc.) but contributes to increased self-worth, independence, and happiness. Exercise may also improve cognition and reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Exercises for Elderly
Staying active promotes heart health, muscle strength, and improved balance. When it comes to completing exercises, they can be as simple or complex as tolerated. If newly jumping into the fitness scene, it is noteworthy to start small, as even a short walk can be beneficial. Recreational and senior centers are also great places to get active – they offer group classes, specialized training regimens, and direct assistance if wanted or needed. The attached guide is an excellent resource demonstrating workout examples, including chair and stretching exercises for seniors.
GUIDE: Exercises For Older People
Exercising to Quality Not Quantity
Individuals generally exercise to see the number on the scale fall, pant sizes drop, and muscles grow. But at all ages, exercising should enhance the quality of life and in seniors, this is particularly true. It is important for this population to realize age is a quantifiable number and should not dictate exercise practices, as simple exercises can have a renowned effect on their health and reduce future conditions.
At Seniors’ Choice Physical Therapy we have a variety of programs to get you started or help you continue a Healthy Lifestyle. Please ask about available classes and services.