Exercise Tips for the Elderly

Getting started in senior fitness programs

Exercise is crucial for seniors to maintain good health. Seniors are encouraged to first have a discussion about exercise with their physician and follow their advice.

In general, experts recommend seniors exercise at least 30 minutes, 3 times per week to see benefits in musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary function, as well as an improvement in perceived well-being and enhanced quality of life.

Why is it important for older adults to stay active?

Staying active can certainly reduce incidences of premature death due to chronic diseases, such as stroke, heart attack and diabetes.  There is also ample evidence bone density increases with exercise, which can help prevent osteoporosis.  Improved agility, mobility and independence are also significant benefits to staying active.  Exercise can also assist with sleeping disorders and depression.

What exercises are most beneficial in the elderly? 

Exercises that simultaneously address balance and strengthening are particularly important for seniors.  The National Institute of Health estimates over 300,000 fractured hips are reported each year; the majority is due to decreased balance resulting in falls. Balance is an important area to focus on. Standing exercises incorporating hip, knee and ankle strengthening are extremely beneficial.  Tai Chi is a great example of this type of activity.

What exercise programs help older adults stay active?

New Energy Wellness (NEW) is a unique program offered by American Senior Communities designed to improve current fitness level and give older adults more energy. Research based with proven results, this strength building program offers adults age 50 and older the ability to enjoy more active lives and to simply feel better.

Offered to both residents and the community, the New Energy Wellness program exposes seniors to a series of exercise programs designed to build balance, vigor and ability in everyday life.

How effective are those programs?

Everyone benefits from exercise.  Exercise is extremely effective in reducing fall risk and allows seniors to maintain a higher level of overall independence with a significant reduction in hospital admissions due to falls, stroke, fractures, blood sugar issues and other acute medical events. Participants also benefit from increased stair-climbing power and increased circulation, coordination, muscle mass and bone density.

Other benefits of exercise include improved posture and balance and increased gait. There is also a reduction in edema and fatigue. Exercise also enhances breathing and the ability to sit and stand straight. There is improved use of hands while the ability to lift, handle and manipulate objects is enhanced.

What are some easy exercises older adults can do at home?

Exercise can help older people remain independent.  It also helps in recovery from illness and it reduces the risk of disease. Some exercise tips for the elderly include: Walking, dancing, cycling, swimming are all good forms of exercise which also allow participants to socialize with others. Weight training is also good. Doing chores, like sweeping or cleaning windows, also exercises the body.   Gardening is another good exercise seniors can enjoy.

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Disclaimer: The statements on this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any message and will not be held responsible for the content of any message. Always consult your personal physician for specific medical advice.

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