Exercise Tips for Older Adults

August 17, 2016
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One of the misconceptions people have about growing old is that it gives them the excuse to quit exercising. After all, bad knees, reduced strength and endurance mean older people can start taking it slow, right?

On the contrary, participating in a fitness program can be very beneficial to older adults, or those aged 60 years and above.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity a week for people aged 65 or older.

Regular exercise for older people can help control their blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and maintain an ideal weight. It can also strengthen their muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It can help fight off osteoporosis and reduce risks of falling.  Simply put it, regular exercise can help older adults live longer and enjoy the types of activities they have enjoyed through the years.

  • Choose your exercises wisely. Any activity that increases heart rate can help in building aerobic endurance. But certain activities that are considered low-impact are ideal for seniors. These include walking, swimming, and cycling. Less athletic seniors can engage in other activities like ballroom dancing, line dancing, and tai chi.
  • Strength training exercises are still safe for older people. One doesn’t really have to be a hardcore gym goer or be a regular at Blink Fitness. Even small tasks like carrying groceries and climbing stairs can go a long way towards their muscle strength.  

Simple exercises like lifting 1 and 2-pound dumbbells will also help. Elderly people can perform weightlifting exercises like chest presses, bicep curls, and tricep extensions with the use of lightweight dumbbells.

  • Improving balance. According to the CDC, an average of 2.5 million older Americans are treated for injuries due to falls on an annual basis.  Minor injuries can have a tremendous impact on older adults as it can hamper their mobility in the long run.

There are many ways for the elderly to improve their balance. One way is to engage in activities like yoga, which can also improve their flexibility.Exercises like back leg raises can also be effective in improving balance.  

To perform back leg raises, stand behind a study chair and hold on for balance. Slowly lift one leg straight back without bending the knees, holding position for a second, before breathing in as the leg is lowered. This can be repeated 10 to 15 times before repeating with the other leg.

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