Fitness and workout routines are stressed through all lifespans. Although you may find your activity to keep modifying with age, ailments, physical restraints and other conditions, yet all types of exercisers are respected. Seniors can truly reap the best advantages once they adopt a healthy lifestyle that is filled with proper diet and physical activity. With advanced age come few inevitable changes to your body and hence participating in different forms of health and wellness routines can not only enhance your health conditions but also delay diseases.
Fitness among seniors is not just responsible for providing physical benefits but it can also boost your mental health. If you could motivate your seniors to work out and help them stay back at home instead of being admitted in nursing homes, this could not just diminish your healthcare costs but also lead to increased independence and mental satisfaction. Scroll down to know more on fitness among seniors and the diseases to stay aware of while they age.
It’s never too late to stay fit – Fitness and exercise advice for seniors
As long as supporting your overall health is concerned, one of the core components is staying active and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. However, it is sad enough to note that this is easier said than done as most people start facing challenges to their mobility as they age. Not only that, they’re also gripped with the fear of falling down or tripping over. Nevertheless, no matter how much mobile you are, there are always exercises that suit your needs. If you’re someone who’s confused where to begin, here are few limited mobility advices for seniors.
- Don’t hurry when you start
Irrespective of your age, you may get carried away by the feeling of starting something new and this can make you hurry while you start. Rushing with too many exercises too soon can have a detrimental impact on your body, particularly for seniors. Bodies that usually remain sedentary need to adjust to movement. Overdoing can lead to injuries which can even heighten your mobility issues making you less capable of exercises. Hence, you need to go slow with your exercise regimen.
- Don’t miss a day
If you want to derive all the benefits of exercising, you have to exercise regularly without missing out on it even a single day. Exercising can boost your levels of energy, improve your mood, give you sound sleep, enhance your mood and reduce risk of heart issues and hypertension. Even if you could walk for 30 minutes in a day, this could have incredible benefits for your body.
- Stretch your body
Though it’s true that cardio exercises must be the first type that comes to your mind, it is just one among the multiple fitness activities that seniors can do in order to get optimal health. One more thing that you need to focus on is flexibility. For this, you should keep stretching your body by doing several types of flexibility exercises to enjoy more movement.
- Stay aware of your body
Since you’ve just begun with your new fitness routine, slight pains and minor aches here and there are common. But if you experience stabbing, sharp joint pain somewhere, you should immediately stop exercising. Joints should be bent slowly and the movements should also be controlled and steady. Jerking and bouncing can lead to contraction of muscles. So prioritize quantity over quality.
Deriving the benefits of exercising – What should motivate the seniors?
What are the reasons behind your slowing down with age and your sedentary lifestyle? It might be pain or weight problems, health issues or constant worries about falling and breaking your bones. Or you may even be nurturing the wrong notion that exercises are not for you. However, as you grow old, adopting a healthy lifestyle is extremely important. Check below to know how exercises can boost your physical as well as mental health.
Benefits of exercise to your physical health
- Lets you maintain a proper weight: We all know that metabolism slows down naturally as we age and hence maintaining a proper weight can get tougher. Exercise increases metabolism and helps you burn calories.
- Improves flexibility & balance: Exercise boosts your flexibility, strength and improves your posture thereby assisting you with coordination and balance. This in turn reduces your risk of falling and developing joint pain diseases like arthritis.
- Reduces impact of chronic illnesses: People who exercise everyday usually have better digestive functioning abilities, improved immune system, bone density and better blood pressure. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia from affecting you during old age. Though there are home care package providers to help you out yet you can keep such things at bay.
Benefits of exercise to your mental health
- Improves your sleep: It is vital to take a good round of sleep every night in order to maintain overall health. With proper activity, you can fall asleep pretty fast, have a deep sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed and energetic.
- Does magic to your brain: Have you ever engaged in activities like crosswords or Sudoku? These help in keeping your brain active and also have wonderful effects on your brain. Such activities can prevent dementia, cognitive decline and memory loss.
- Improves self confidence and mood: There’s no doubt about the fact that exercises can be a huge reliever of stress as it produces endorphins. It also reduces feelings of depression, sadness and anxiety. When you feel strong and remain active, you’ll feel more confident about yourself.
Stay aware of the most common health issues for seniors – Try to stay away
Nowadays people can expect to increase their life expectancy rates. As per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), once you can reach the age of 65, you can easily live another 19.5 years on an average. It is then that seniors have to carefully handle all sorts of chronic health issues in order to remain healthy.
By adopting few healthy lifestyle changes like losing weight or quitting smoking or working out daily, you can not only avoid health risks but also live longer. Include a geriatrician in your life who has extensive knowledge on concerns of aging. So, if you want to be one among the 43% of people who live happily after 65 years of age, here are few diseases to steer clear of. Check them out.
Probably the #1 disease to combat with while you’re old is arthritis. As per estimates of CDC, it affects 49.8% of all adults who have crossed 65 and it leads to poor quality of life and pain among seniors. Arthritis is a disease which can bar you from staying active but if you succumb to the pain, you’ll probably turn immobile with time. It is rather a wiser approach to develop a personalized activity plan that can maintain a mobile life.
- ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease accounts for being the third-biggest reason for deaths among seniors after cancer and cardiovascular issues? Alzheimer’s and dementia are tough to diagnose as their symptoms are in many way similar to the normal course of aging. There are several dementia support services that offer support in all forms to the patients. Health experts agree to the fact that cognitive impairment can have a considerable impact on senior health.
- HEART ISSUES
As per CDC, heart issues are the leading cause of death among adults over 65 years. With age, people live with risk factors like high cholesterol and blood pressure that increase the chances of a stroke. If you wish to avert the risks of suffering from a stroke, you have to exercise daily and also follow a heart-friendly diet. Eating well means eating in a style that allows healthy diet that is well-balanced in nutrition, proteins and good fats.
It goes without mentioning that cancer is yet another leading cause of death among men and women. If cancer is diagnosed at an early stage through colonoscopies, mammograms or skin checks, this disease can be curable. Though you may not always be able to prevent cancer, yet you can still improve your life despite surviving with cancer. Speak to your doctor to get an idea about the best recommendations for healthy living.
The CDC estimates that 30% of the seniors above 65 years of age are living with diabetes and this is posing to be a serious threat to health. You can easily identify diabetes with simple blood sugar levels and blood tests. The sooner you diagnose diabetes, you can start making changes to control diabetes and thereby improve your long-term health outlook.
With old age, there is also a heightened risk for falls which might need emergency care at home. Too many people are regularly treated in the emergency departments only because of falls and this is indeed a serious concern. But if you keep exercising regularly, you can boost your flexibility and thereby reduce the instance of falls.
Debunking the myths on aging and activity
As people age, they tend to get lazy due to the change in their bodies and this forces them to adapt a sedentary lifestyle. Moreover, they also start believing in the myths that keeps them from engaging themselves in any kind of activities. What are the few myths to stop believing in?
Myth #1: I’m getting old and so there’s no need to exercise
It is only when you exercise regularly that you feel and look younger and remain independent for a longer time. Not only that, exercise can also reduce risks of all the above listed age-related diseases. The mood lifting benefits of exercises can be as great for a 70 year old as it is for a 30 year old.
Myth #2: If I exercise, I may fall down
Regular workout can build your stamina, strength and prevent losing bone mass as you grow old. Moreover, it can reduce your chances of falling down.
Myth #3: I can never be what I was before and it’s too frustrating
Thanks to the changes in metabolism rate, hormones, muscle mass, bone density that there will inevitably be a change in your levels of performance. Your strength is certainly going to decline as you age but that is no proof to the fact that you can’t get any sense of accomplishment once you engage yourself in physical activity to enhance your health conditions. In fact, the ultimate key is to set appropriate health goals according to your age. If you’re into a sedentary lifestyle, it can take a toll on your health.
Myth #4: I no longer have the age of exercising
Remember that none can be too old to start exercising or engaging in any kind of physical activity. It has been rather seen that all those adults who start moving later in life show better mental and physical improvement as compared to their younger counterparts. Are you someone who has never exercised before? If answered yes and if you gather the courage to start exercising once again, you will begin to reap the rewards sooner or later. Make sure you start off with gentler activities.
Myth #5: My disability is the biggest obstacle to my exercise
Though it is true that people who are bound to the chair face certain challenges but yet it is also true at the same time that they can lift light weights, do some form of chair aerobics, stretch their upper body, do chair yoga and chair Tai Chi to boost their motion, enhance muscle tone and improve their cardiovascular health. Remember that there can be no valid excuse for not exercising.
Therefore, now that you know the key to living a healthy life as a senior, what are you waiting for? Start following the advice mentioned in this post and try to bring about a positive change to your life.