1 posts categorized "Health & Fitness"

06/11/2009

Exercise for older Adults

It's never too late to improve your health. Extensive research into the subject shows that people of all ages and physical conditions benefit from exercise and physical activity; two of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.

Far from putting people at risk of injury, staying physically active and exercising regularly can aid in the prevention and deferral of many diseases and disabilities. Even moderate exercise and physical activity can improve the health of seniors who are frail, or who have diseases that accompany aging.

Not only is exercise safe for people of all age groups, older adults hurt their health far more by abstaining.

Tips for living a long, active life:

If you want to stay healthy and independent you need to work on maintaining and improving:

1.      strength

2.      balance

3.      flexibility

4.      endurance

It is even more motivating to note that if you are inactive, you can also actively harm your aptitude in these core areas. So don’t be afraid to exercise, even if you’ve suffered injury; it's never too late to start.

Growing older doesn't mean you have to grow weak or lose your ability to do everyday tasks. Exercise helps. Muscle mass and bone strength can be improved with regular exercise. Walking, swimming, dancing and cycling are all good forms of exercise which can also be sociable. Weight training can also be useful.

Physical activity helps prevent the development of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer, obesity and injury prevention. Ideally, you should aim to take part in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days.

Whilst we cannot stop the body ageing, regular exercise can delay or prevent some physiological adaptations which may be linked to the mature adult and promoting the significant health benefits to gain from a regular and well structured fitness program.

 

1. Cardiovascular and Aerobic Fitness

The Facts:

  • Heart rate drops by one beat / year
  • Blood leaving the heart decreases with age
  • Loss of flexibility in the spine, lung function affected

The heart benefits from cardio exercise:

  • Lowers the risk of heart disease
  • Lowers the risk of high blood pressure and may decrease already high blood pressure
  • Lowers and controls cholesterol levels
  • Increases energy levels
  • The Immune system is boosted due to increased regulation of body wastes therefore aiding in the prevention of illness and helps the body recover quicker.

2. Muscle

The Facts:

  • 40% of muscle fibres are lost between the early adulthood and 80yrs
  • This loss increases over the age of 60yrs and is accelerated further with inactivity
  • The loss of (predominantly fast twitch) fibres results in a decrease in strength and inability to move quickly

Muscles benefit from resistance training:

·         Reverse and prevent muscle loss

·         Regeneration of muscle fibres and increase strength

  • Enhance skeletal and joint support
  • Reduce the number of potential falls in later years

3. Bones

The Facts:

  • Accompanying the ageing process,  a reduction in bone density occurs (low bone mass and reduced bone strength result in fragility)
  • Women are particularly prone to Osteoporosis due to decreasing levels of oestrogen in post-menopausal stages.
  • Joint degeneration occurs commonly in the over 55 age group which is often due to bad posture and inactivity. Osteoarthritis sets in and range of movement is impaired.

Bones benefit from Weight Bearing exercise:

  • Prevention of Osteoporotic fractures and falls
  • Prevention of Osteoporosis
  • Decreased back pain
  • Resistance arthritis
  • Promote good posture


4. Body Fat and related diseases

The Facts:

  • Some professional bodies rank

    Australia

    as the most obese country in the world
  • Exercise and diet can actually prevent diabetes in nearly 60% of those at a high risk

Overall body weight and health benefits from cardio exercise:

  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Type II Diabetes can be controlled or prevented
  • Reduce body fat, increase metabolism
  • The risk of heart disease, strokes, angina, and hypertension are greatly reduced

Psychological Benefits

In addition to these four main areas, studies have shown that older people who are fitter also experience less tiredness, less depression, less anger and less tension; therefore improving overall quality of life.

Note:

Always seek clearance from your Doctor or health professional before beginning any exercise program and it’s a great idea to seek guidance from a trained and qualified exercise professional to assist in implementing a safe fitness program that is tailored to meet your specific and individual needs. This will ensure you are on the right track to a healthier happier life.