Do you need physical activity at an older age?

Old age brings with it independence and wisdom. But, it also brings a vulnerability to different disorders and physical limitations. This is mainly due to the fact that the levels of your immunity go down with age and it brings with it a risk of several physiological and neurological comorbid conditions. However, this doesn't mean that once you crossover to the 70s or the 80s, your life has to be rife with health problems. If you follow a consistent exercise routine that is customized according to your specific age and health needs, these can be the most wonderful years of your life.

What does lack of exercise do to us in old age?

It is very important to have activities for senior citizens that keep them engaged physically and mentally. It is assumed that more than half of the physical decline in a person over the age of 70 years is because of a lack of physical activity, further underscoring the benefits of exercise for older people. Without a plan of regular exercise for the elderly, they may face one or more of these problems:

  1. Lack of coordination and balance
  2. Reduced mobility and flexibility
  3. Lowered muscle mass and endurance
  4. Risk of frequent injuries due to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
  5. Obesity
  6. High blood pressure
  7. Susceptibility to heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, etc.
  8. Frequent mood swings, stress, anxiety, etc.
  9. Issues related to cognition like dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, etc.
  10. Macular degeneration

What are the benefits of having a consistent exercise routine?

A consistent plan of exercise for the elderly has tremendous benefits. Some of the most important advantages of exercises for senior citizens include:

1. Improves cardiovascular health

When the exercises for the elderly include cardio exercises or those for improving strength for seniors, they help in reducing blood pressure and bettering the circulation leading to a reduced risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, etc.

2. Enhanced neurological health

Exercises for older men and women improve blood circulation which helps in maintaining adequate blood flow and oxygen to the brain. These activities for senior citizens help in improving their memory and preventing dementia, Alzheimer's, etc.

3. Prevents falls and injuries

Being active, especially balance exercises for the elderly help in improving our range of motion, balance, flexibility, and mobility. All of these help in preventing falls that cause injuries and fractures.

4. Improves sleep

Regular exercise for the elderly helps in inducing deep sleep, which further helps in more energy, better concentration, and improved memory.

5. You are happier

Regular exercises for senior citizens help in releasing endorphins. This is especially true for exercises for older women. This hormone reduces stress levels and makes you feel happier.

6. Your bones become healthy

When you do strength exercises for older men or women and weight training, your bones become stronger gradually. Especially exercises for older women help in preventing osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Besides all these benefits, exercises for older people are easy to incorporate into the daily routine and can be easily done at home or a nearby fitness center with minimal equipment.

Which guided exercises can I do?

Now that we know the importance of exercise for the elderly, it is time to know the best exercises that you can do. These guided exercises are easy to customize for seniors by modifying the weights, duration, or repetitions: Stretching exercises: These exercises and activities for senior citizens help in releasing the tension of the muscles and improving muscle control, circulation, and coordination.

1) Upper back stretch

  1. Sit upright in a chair with relaxed shoulders.
  2. Extend your arms forward at shoulder height and grab one hand with the other and push outwards as you pull your shoulders and back forward.
  3. Hold for 10 seconds and release

 2) Shoulder circles

  1. Sit in a chair with your back in an upright position.
  2. Place your fingertips on your shoulders.
  3. Begin circling your shoulders.
  4. Repeat this 20 times forwards and 20 times backward.

3) Balance exercises

¬†Balance exercises for the elderly help in improving your reaction time, coordination, better neurological functioning, and improved muscular and bone strength.‚Äć

4) Side leg raises

  1. Stand behind a counter or a chair with your hands resting on it.
  2. Lift your right leg out to the side.
  3. Repeat with the left leg.
  4. Repeat 15 times for each leg.

5) Flamingo stand

  1. Stand with your feet together and arms at the side.
  2. Bend one knee to lift the foot slightly off the ground as you balance with the    other leg.
  3. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

6) Chair exercises

Chair exercises for seniors help in improving flexibility, and muscle strength, and better one's balance. Improved blood circulation, reduction in joint stiffness, and better mood are also important advantages of chair exercises for seniors.

7) Front arm raises

  1. Sit comfortably holding a ball in both your hands.
  2. Extend your arms forward as you rest the ball on your legs with your elbows bent slightly.
  3. Raise your arms to lift the ball to shoulder level then take it down.
  4. Repeat this 10-15 times.

Strength exercises

1) Wrist curls

  1. Place your forearm on the armrest of a chair with your hands hanging over.
  2. Hold a weight in each hand.
  3. Bend your wrist up and down. Repeat this 10 times.

2) Knee extensions

  1. Sit in a chair with your back straight.
  2. Extend your right leg forward and hold for a few seconds. Lower to the starting position.
  3. Repeat with the other leg.
  4. Do 15 reps per leg.

What are the tips to keep in mind while doing guided exercises for the elderly?

Here are some tips to know before you embark on your journey to health:

  1. Workouts for beginners should be started with proper guidance to avoid injuries.
  2. Exercise for the elderly should not be done without consulting your doctor.
  3. Your regime for exercise for the elderly should be interesting. In addition to strength and balance exercises, don't be wary of trying new routines like yoga-endurance, etc.
  4. Exercises for the elderly should be started slowly to avoid fatigue and boredom. Keep smaller and achievable goals and record your progress for motivation.
  5. Choose proper gear to enjoy a safe routine of exercise for the elderly.

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Posted 
July 13, 2022
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