Elder Exercise Will Improve Overall Health
Aerobic exercise or cardiovascular conditioning is extremely beneficial for seniors. This can include using cardiovascular machines (e.g. treadmills, ellipticals, recumbent and upright stationary bikes, step machines), yoga and stretching classes, pilates, gardening, swimming, bicycling, walking, golf, bowling, tennis, dancing and/or martial arts like Tai Chi.
This type of exercise allows the heart and lungs to work out at an elevated rate, supplies oxygen to the muscles, and improves the overall efficiency of the cardiovascular system. For seniors who are frail or have balance problems, swimming and water aerobics may be safer and less jarring to the body.
Some exercise physiologists place an emphasis on weight or resistance training needs. Such a program, of course, needs to be tailored to meet the medical concerns, overall physical condition and functional capacity of each individual. There is no reason to add bulk. Rather, simple weight exercises to maintain muscle strength, break a sweat during workouts, and perhaps burn off some calories. Resistance can take the form of free weights, universal machines, or stretching with tubing. Form is important in order to prevent injuries, so it is important to start out with someone who can teach you the proper mechanics. Begin with lighter and manageable weights and fewer repetitions, and increase over time. Focus on exercising all six major muscle groups.
Studies have shown that elder and somewhat frail people can greatly enhance the quality of their life through exercise. One study by a state Department of Health and Senior Services found that those seniors who participated in an exercise program reported an overall improvement in their health and fewer sick days.
Many local YMCAs and health clubs offer senior-focused fitness programs, which include swimming, cardio-vascular and weight lifting. By exercising and maintaining a proper diet, your doctor may be able to eliminate some medications! And, seniors will likely notice increased energy and feel better mentally.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164