Renae Diggles

February 20, 2020

The Importance of Safe Exercise for Seniors

Renae Diggles

February 20, 2020

Regular physical activity is essential to staying healthy at any age. Many older people don’t get enough exercise due to feelings of reluctance. The hesitation to exercise may be due to physical limitations, fatigue, chronic illnesses, accessibility issues and safety concerns. Whatever the reason, it’s possible to achieve safe exercise for seniors.

According to studies, the benefits of physical activity for seniors are unmistakable. Actually, regular physical exercise aids in the prevention of several chronic diseases. It also helps to improve mental health, and it reduces the risks of injuries.

As people get older, their bodies take longer to heal from injury, however, moderate exercise is beneficial, outweighing the risks that many people worry about. There are exercises to suit people of all abilities and even those suffering from chronic diseases. Furthermore, many older adults’ show improvements in health with regular exercise. Especially for those who suffer from Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

The benefits of physical activity for seniors is extensive. Positive effects range from enhanced memory to improved cholesterol levels. In fact, there are so many positive effects from regular exercise as you age.

Balance and Strength

Balance training helps to reduce the risk of falls and keeps older people more steady on their feet. Doing strength training improves mobility and physical independence. In fact, balance and strength are important for all older people. Having a program tailored to improve strength and balance are effective whether you engage in a community based exercise program, or an exercise program at home.

You might feel comfortable in a gym doing balance and strength training. Others might enjoy pilates and yoga. Actually, there are several physiotherapy clinics that offer pilates nowadays. Yoga and pilates offer age appropriate variations to suit you, no matter your ability. Not only do they help with balance, but also with strength as they include resistance training. Classes are in groups which also helps to increase social relationships and increases motivation.

If you want to work on your balance and strength, talk with your doctor first. They may offer you some simple to follow exercises that are right for you. Other health professionals that can help with strength and balance include qualified physiotherapists and exercise physiologists.

Physical Fitness

Physical fitness for the elderly includes both leisurely fitness as well as intended physical activity. According to the World Health Organization, older people who are physically fit have lower rates of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and breast cancer.

Physical fitness improves muscle mass, builds healthier bones, improves cardiorespiratory fitness, and enhances movement. Finding a way to get your 30 minutes in each day will benefit your health in positive ways.

seniors exercising in lake

Prevention & Symptom Reduction of Chronic Diseases

Physical activity lowers the risk of developing chronic health conditions. It also minimises symptoms of pre-existing chronic illnesses, and improves overall health and wellbeing. Although chronic diseases will restrict your ability to do certain physical activities, a doctor or other allied health professional will be able to develop an appropriate exercise program that’s safe for you.

Feel Good Exercising

Exercise produces endorphins which help you to feel good. Exercise also improves sleep which is a major concern for many older adults. By exercising daily you’ll feel better, as research suggests that it reduces the risk of depression and cognitive decline.

But maybe one of the main reasons that physical activity is beneficial to one’s mental health is that exercise and socialising often go hand in hand. By joining a yoga class, playing a round of golf, or joining a walking club, these physical and social activities will keep you interacting and reduce loneliness and the risk of developing depression.

Resistance and Weight Training

Exercise is undoubtedly beneficial to your health including the health of your bones. The best exercises for your bones include weight bearing exercises and resistance training. According to Osteoporosis Australia, exercise is important for bone density as well as helping to build muscles. It helps to protect against bone loss and consequently reduces the risks of osteoporosis and fractured bones, as well as aiding in the prevention of falls.

Weight bearing exercises include exercises such as walking, and climbing stairs, as well as interactive sports such as tennis. Resistance training includes exercises such as lifting weights and using other gym equipment.

If you suffer from a chronic health condition or you feel unsafe to exercise on your own, consider joining a gym that’s equipped with qualified exercise physiologists. They can tailor a safe exercise plan to meet your needs.

Community Based Exercise for Seniors

For seniors there are many community organisations that now offer community based exercise programs led by exercise physiologists. The intention of such programs is to reduce the growing rates of chronic diseases and help older people to live well.

In summary, by maintaining a consistent exercise schedule you’ll reduce the risk of age related morbidities, reduce your risk of falling, improve your bone health and mental health, and you’ll have more energy. Happy exercising!



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