The percentage of the aging population continues to increase globally. Statistics reveal that by the year 2050, individuals aged 65 and older will consist of about 16 percent of the world’s population and this translates to about 1.5 billion people. Research also reveals that older people were found to be the most sedentary among all segments of society anywhere in the world.
Unfortunately, being inactive could lead the aged population to suffer from rapid loss of muscle mass, increased risk for falls, fractures, reduced strength and lowered productivity. The good news is that there are many ways to remain physically active during the aging years. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go to the gym and pump iron. Online exercise classes like what Miranda’s Physio Steps offers are now widely available, and this is an excellent option for those who want to work out in the comforts of their own homes.
Some of the activities that senior citizens may choose to perform on a regular basis may include the following:
Warming Up Exercises
Performing warming up exercises is very important for the prevention of injury. This must be done prior to indulging in any activities that involve physical exertion. Warming up is necessary as it helps direct blood to the muscles, gradually raises the body temperature while also kick-starting the cardiovascular system.
By performing warming up exercises, the elderly will also be able to lessen muscle soreness. Warming up is also crucial to mentally prepare an elderly for the physical exercise that they are about to do. Ankle circling and light stretching exercises such as walking and shoulder rolls are some examples of good warming-up activities.
Aerobic activity should be performed at least 3 days per week with a total of at least 150 minutes, which is equivalent to 2 hours and 30 minutes. Aerobic activity is also referred to as endurance exercise and may help strengthen the heart and lungs while promoting better blood circulation.
Some examples of aerobic activities that the elderly may engage in are brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and gardening. However, if an elderly, finds it hard to achieve the 2.5 hours per week required, they should make it up by trying their best to stay physically active every day.
Senior citizens who are mobility impaired due to their physical disability brought about by their chronic health issue should not shun away from doing aerobic activities. The people behind www.UpliftingMobility.com believe that these physical impairments should not discourage any elderly to stay active.
Besides, there are already mobility devices that can aid the elderly in any ambulatory activities. The use of mobility devices such as foldable power wheelchairs and four-wheel walkers is one great way to encourage the elderly to adhere to their daily aerobic exercise regimen.
Strength Training Exercises
There is enough scientific evidence to prove that muscle strength can still be restored even at the age of 90. It is true that aging brings with it several functional and physiologic decline which largely contributes to an elderly’s physical disability and frailty.
However, research reveals that strength training activities can help combat functional decline such as frailty and weakness that are common among the geriatric population. It could help preserve muscle mass, bone density, tendons, and ligaments. Older adults can do strength training exercises at least two days a week.
Some of the muscle-strengthening exercises that the elderly can perform include calisthenic exercises, lifting hand-held weights and exercise bands. Indulging in yoga and doing some gardening activities also help prevent the loss of muscle mass among the elderly.
Activities that Improve Balance
Older adults must also engage in activities that help them maintain and improve their balance. That means they need to do exercises that help the vestibular system. The vestibular system is located in the inner ear and is responsible for our sense of balance and eye movement coordination. As people get older, the vestibular system also starts to deteriorate. This makes the elderly more susceptible to falls and other accidents.
Experts recommend that older adults must take the time to perform toe walking, heel walking, sideways walking and backward walking to reduce their risk of falling. Marching in place is also another good activity to improve a senior’s balance.
Flamingo stand can be a good substitute if Toe the Line exercise is a bit difficult to do. Seniors may perform balance training at least 3 days a week. Exercises that improve balance significantly helps seniors maintain their body’s sense of position in any space. This leads to reduced risk for tripping off, ankle injuries, along with improving one’s ability to maintain balance even when the body has to make sudden changes in movement or posture.
As people age, it becomes natural for the body to lose its elasticity, making your skin look sag or supple. And this is something that is more likely to occur if an individual is not physically active. Having difficulty reaching down to tie the shoes and looking over your shoulder as you back the car out when driving are just a few examples which show that your flexibility has indeed started to dwindle.
This is the reason why senior citizens must see to it that they incorporate several stretching exercises to ensure that they are still able to maintain and improve their flexibility as they age. Stretching exercises for the elderly must be focused on the muscles of the hips, lower and upper back, calves, neck shoulders, front and back thighs.
These stretching exercises should be done at least three times per week. The best thing about it is that these exercises not only improve flexibility. These are also good for improving circulation, posture, enhancing balance and for preventing injuries. Leg stretching should also be done on a regular basis to reduce one’s likelihood of having cramps.
Cooling Down Exercises
After performing your regular workout routine, you need to do a few cooling down exercises before actually calling it a day. As you perform these cooling down exercises, you will be reducing the intensity of the effect of those exercises that you performed during the workout.
This way, you will also be able to bring your heart rate to normal once again. Cooling down is also important for releasing lactic acid to reduce post-workout soreness. Static stretching exercises would be an ideal cool-down activity as it helps realign the elderly’s muscle fibers and re-establish his body’s normal range of motion.
Physical activity is important for senior citizens. It helps them maintain their balance, flexibility, and overall health, improving their quality of life.
It’s also essential to note that senior citizens must consult their doctor before indulging in any physical activity. The intensity and duration of any physical exercise must be done in accordance with the elderly’s level of health and fitness. Proper precautions must be strictly adhered to especially by seniors who have chronic medical conditions and any other health issues.
Most of all, seniors must also remember that consistency is the key to achieving the benefits of any physical exercise regimen. Health issues are common in the aging years. But these can be reduced if not prevented if one sticks to good lifestyle habits such as indulging in regular exercise regimen.
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