Despite all the anti-aging products on the market, it is inevitable that we age. However, some of the things we lose as we age can be prevented, including:
- Strength and Muscle: Sarcophagi is the sophisticated term that scientists have come to describe the loss of muscle, strength, and tissue quality that is often seen in older adults. Some experts have suggested that muscle mass decreases by about 1 percent each year after age 30.
- Cardio Endurance: As we age, we often lose aerobic capacity, and experts believe this contributes to reduced mobility in daily life.
- Flexibility: Joints change with age and this can lead to stiffness, decreased range of motion, and more injury. Flexibility is a Fundamental Element of Fitness
- Balance: Each year, hospitals treat thousands of older patients with broken hips due to falls. The balance exercises can help prevent injuries from falls and keep you independent and mobile.
The good news is that loss of strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance are not inevitable. When older people lose the ability to do things on their own, this does not happen just because they have aged. Most likely, they have become inactive. But, it is never too late. No matter how old you are, exercise can improve your quality of life and you don’t have to waste a lot of time to see and feel improvements. Like everyone else, older adults should engage in cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility to stay healthy and maintain the highest possible strength and function.
Strength training for seniors
Strength training has incredible benefits for everyone, but especially for older people. Experts believe that “resistance exercise can prevent declines in strength and muscle mass for decades.”
Before you begin, it is essential that your doctor examine you. If you have any conditions, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, or heart disease, you should learn the types of exercises you can and cannot do. Use the following guidelines to configure your program:
- Lift weights for all muscle groups (lower body, chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and abs) at least 2 non-consecutive days each week
- Start without weights or light weights to practice the exercises and condition your body. You can use dumbbells, machines or resistance bands.
- Do each exercise for at least 1 set of 10-15 repetitions.
- Progress by adding more sets (with breaks in between) or increasing weights each week
- Focus on being in good shape for each exercise.
- Make sure to warm up with light exercise before lifting weights
If you’ve never lifted weights before, you may want to work with a personal trainer to learn the correct way to lift. Make sure your coach has experience working with older people, especially if you have any medical conditions, injuries, or joint problems.
You’ll also find ideas in this total body workout for seniors. Exercises are only suggestions, so avoid exercises that cause pain or dizziness or that may aggravate any injury you have.
Cardio exercise for older persons
Because endurance can decrease over the years, it is important to participate in some type of aerobic exercise. It is recommended that older adults take 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day.
To get started:
- Consult your doctor first if you have any medical problems.
- Choose an activity that you enjoy and something that is accessible, such as walking, swimming, biking, playing tennis, etc.
- If you’ve never exercised or it’s been awhile, start with 5-10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3 times a week and let your body get used to it. Each week, add a few minutes until you can move continuously for 30 minutes or more.
- Work at a moderate intensity: you should be able to carry on a conversation.
- Always warm up with 5 or more minutes of light activity.
- Stretch after your workout.
Strength training for seniors
Strength training is another important element of your exercise program to keep your muscles and bones strong and in shape. This is often the most confusing part of the exercise.
You can also visit your local gym or sports club to find out what kinds of classes they offer to older adults. It is much more fun and motivating to train with friends.
Flexibility and balance for the older folks
It’s important to stay flexible as you get older, so plan to stretch after your workouts or incorporate yoga into your routine.
Make sure your muscles are warm when you stretch, either after exercising or after leaving a hot bath or shower.
In addition to basic flexibility training, be sure to incorporate balance exercises into your day.
Remember that any activity is better than none, so start with something easy and enjoyable. You will discover that, over time, exercise can help you improve your quality of life and age gracefully.
As you get older you may also want to relax, learn how to find body pressure points to relax here.