When we talk about exercise for older people it may not apply to you yet, but at some point it will. There’s no getting away from the fact that we all age and there’s no stopping it. With age comes a change and slowing down of our abilities.
You might think it’ll never happen to you, but it will, although it affects each of us differently. There are things you can do to slow down the process. If you’ve lived a reckless life in earlier years there may be some long term damage that can’t be reversed. The effects of this can have more of an impact in later years as the body ages.
Although we will naturally slow down at some point, it’s amazing how long we can keep ourselves fit if we put our mind to it. Take Charles Eugster, who, at 95 smashed the 95 and over world indoor record for 200 meters. He didn’t take up exercising until he was in his 80’s! You can read the story in the UK Telegraph. He says on his own website that successful aging requires work, diet and exercise.
Then there’s granny Gipson, as reported in 2015 in the Detroit Free Press, born in 1922 and was still able to do a total body workout. Credit also has to also go to Salvina Formosa who was featured in the UK Daily Mail, having turned 101 in 2015 but still able to lift weights and do sit-to-stand exercises several times a week. She said she had no intention to slow down any time soon.
Is Exercise for Older People Safe?
You may think that these are three rare examples of people who are lucky to be physically fit and active in their later years but the truth is that it’s becoming more and more common. As we are now living longer it’s important that we take steps to look after ourselves and stay active. It’s all too easy to let it slip away by having the mind set of being old.
It’s never too late to start an active life to improve your fitness. If you haven’t done much exercise for a long time it’s a good idea to discuss it with your doctor, particularly if you have any health conditions. Seeking professional advice first is always the best idea and starting slowly is essential. Go easy and carefully, allowing yourself to gradually build up.
Simple activities such as going for a brisk walk, cycling or swimming will help to strengthen the muscles and heart. You’ll also get an energy boost and the more you build it up, the better your endurance will be.
This type of cardiovascular exercise will also help to control your blood sugars and cholesterol levels. It can also lessen the chance of developing health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. You’ll get stronger and this will help to preserve muscles tissue and the health of your bones. Strength, posture and agility will also benefit from this activity. There are plenty of workouts for seniors.
Taking up running can cause problems if you do it on a hard surface as your joints, particularly the knees, will get a pounding from this action. This is where not only a doctor but also a qualified fitness trainer can offer advice.
Slow Down Slowing Down
As we get older our metabolism tends to slow down which makes us prone to putting on weight. Carrying out any exercise will help to increase the metabolism a little and therefore help to keep our weight in check. This will have a positive effect on overall wellness.
There are many other benefits to exercise for older people. The immune system will get better, as you get fitter and stronger there’s less chance of developing some illnesses. It will help with blood pressure and digestion. Some also say it can help to lower the risk of illnesses such as colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
When we workout it also has mental benefits too as it causes our brain to produce endorphins. These make us feel happier and will help to reduce any sadness or even depression in some cases. It can also lead to a boost in self-confidence, help us sleep better and make our brain function better.
You’re Never too Old
So as you can see, there are many benefits to taking up some sort of exercising no matter what age you’ve reached. It’s all about staying active and not letting yourself waste away. It’s best to find something you enjoy doing such as walking as you’re more likely to continue doing it.
You might want to use a home treadmill or rowing machine. Search online for things like sitting exercises for senior citizens, physical fitness programs for seniors or even senior fitness, you never know what you’ll find! Strength exercises for seniors can be very beneficial if done properly.
Pick something that suits your lifestyle, it might be tennis or even bowls. Whatever it is you choose to take up, make sure you warm up first and then take it slowly. There’s no point in trying to get fit by exercising strenuously only to do some harm to your body.
Little things can make a big difference, such as using the stairs rather than the elevator when out shopping. If you’re going on a short journey you might want to consider walking instead of taking the car or a bus. Both house cleaning and gardening are also good activities to help with your fitness as is dancing.
Remember, you shouldn’t suddenly start exercising if you’ve not done very much for a long time. It’s all about building it up slowly at a pace your body can take without causing any damage. You should seek professional advice and speak to your doctor who will be able to give advice on your particular needs.
As we saw earlier, there are many people in their 90’s and above who are carrying out regular exercise to keep fit and stay healthy in mind and body. It isn’t difficult to do, as long as you go about it in the right way and heed the advice you’re given. Exercise for older people works and if you do it, who knows, you could be breaking a world record at the age of 95 or even more!