Is it safe for seniors to exercise? According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, almost all elderly individuals can benefit from additional physical activity. Aerobic exercise, stretching and strength training can help with heart health, flexibility, mobility, bone health, immune function, and stamina.
Regular exercise provides a myriad of health benefits, including improvements in blood pressure, diabetes, lipid profile, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and neuro-cognitive function.
Regular exercise improves the following:
- Immune Function. A healthy, strong body fights off infection and sickness more easily and more quickly. Rather than sapping energy reserves entirely, recovery from an illness will take less of a toll on the body if the person exercises regularly.
- Cardio-Respiratory and Cardiovascular Function. Frequent physical activity lowers the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. If the elderly person has hypertension, exercise will help lower their blood pressure.
- Bone Density and Risk of Osteoporosis. Exercise protects against loss in bone mass. Better bone density will reduce the risk of osteoporosis, lower the risk of falling and prevent broken bones. Post-menopausal women can lose as much as 2 percent bone mass each year, and men also lose bone mass as they age. Research done at Tufts University shows that strength training can dramatically reduce this loss, help restore bones, and contribute to better balance and less fractures.
- Gastrointestinal Function. Regular exercise helps boost your metabolism and promotes the efficient elimination of waste and encourages digestive health.
- Chronic Conditions and Cancer. Physical activity lowers risk of serious conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis and colon cancer, to name a few. It also helps in the management of high cholesterol and arthritis pain.
A consistent exercise schedule is also associated with decreased mortality and age-related morbidity in older adults. In addition, a study by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society examined exercise in the elderly and found that training led to improvements in functional reach and balance and reduced the participants’ fear of falling.
Of course, there are some people whose physical abilities are limited by medical conditions or general frailty. These seniors have to go about exercise more carefully than others, but they do not have to dismiss it entirely. With proper instruction and guidance, the elderly can learn activities and exercises that improve mobility and strength. Exercise is even more important for frail individuals since they are the most prone to falling and broken bones.
Try activities in a class setting with proper supervision by a trained professional. Consider swimming or other water exercises that are low-impact and less jarring to the body. The local YMCA or YWCA are good places to start when looking for exercise programs that address special needs.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.agingcare.com
With the changes the human body goes through with age, its common for individuals to question whether they should keep staying active. Actually, exercise can have a lot of benefits for the elderly. The body will undergo natural wear and tear alterations with time, however, physical activity over time can help maintain overall strength, flexibility and mobility as well as help avoid the development of certain injuries and conditions.
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