Elder Exercise Can Encompass All Muscle Groups
Multiple studies and elder research has shown that elderly exercise can greatly enhance the quality of aging and lifestyle. There may be any number of different methods for exercise, and active seniors should choose one or more areas to enhance their fitness, strength, conditioning, and overall health.
Aerobic exercise or cardiovascular conditioning is extremely beneficial for aging seniors. This can include using cardiovascular machines (e.g. treadmills, ellipticals, recumbent and upright stationary bikes, step machines), yoga and stretching classes. Also, think about pilates, gardening, swimming, bicycling, walking, golf, bowling, tennis, dancing and/or martial arts like Tai Chi. These types of exercise allow the heart and lungs to work out at an elevated rate, supplies oxygen to the muscles, stretches 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. There is less jarring to the body, while still allowing for efficient muscle exercise.
Many physiologists also place an emphasis on weight or resistance training benefits. Try 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. Begin slowly, with lighter and manageable weights and fewer repetitions. After muscles have become accustomed to the “work”, plan to increase over time. Ideally, your focus should be on exercising all six major muscle groups.
Many studies have found that those seniors who participated in an exercise program reported an overall improvement in their health, fewer sick days, and increased energy. Exercise also helps to clear the mind, which promotes relaxation and more emotional balance/control.
Not interested in a monthly gym membership? Many senior centers now offer fitness programs, exercise machines, and instructor led supervision. Your local YMCAs may also offer senior-focused fitness programs, including cardio-vascular, stationary biking and weight lifting.
By exercising and maintaining a proper diet, your doctor may even be able to eliminate some current medications. By staying active, fit, and maintaining an exercise routine, many seniors will reap the benefits of increased energy and better mental acuity and attitude.
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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