Exercise for the Elderly
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The Importance of Exercise for the Elderly

Sep 06, 2016

Regular exercise is even more important for us as we get older. We all know that exercise is important for good health, but don't always think about it in relationship to older adults. The HelpGuide.org emphasizes that exercise in individuals over the age of 50 profits the whole body and delivers a number of important health benefits.

What Are the Major Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults?

The research regarding the benefits of exercise in older adults is unanimous – every study shows that exercise is beneficial and necessary to maintaining good health as you age. Research indicates that exercise is the key to healthy aging by helping adults maintain a healthy weight, reduce the impact of illness, and enhance mobility as well as flexibility and balance. MedlinePlus echoes these sentiments and adds that endurance exercises help promote better breathing and cardiovascular health while strength exercises help maintain muscle and bone mass. Balance work is even important as it helps prevent falls and other accidents.

What Are the Best Types of Exercise for Elderly Individuals?

The key to maintaining your health as you age is selecting the right exercises for your body and your physical fitness level. Once you have established an effective routine, you can add additional activities to further strengthen your muscles and promote additional health factors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists a number of beneficial exercises for older adults; however, it seems the best types of exercise for elderly include aerobic activities, such as walking or biking, and light muscle-strengthening activities, such as lifting weights and working with resistance bands.

1. Walking

Aerobic activity or cardio is an important component to any regimen as it increases your heart rate as well as your breathing level. A brisk walk is an effective way to achieve both of these factors and work toward maintaining your health. Start your walk at a comfortable pace and work your way up to a more vigorous-intensity level that has your body working harder. You'll know you've reached a vigorous-intensity level when you find it difficult to carry on a conversation at the same time.

2. Biking

Biking is another great aerobic activity. This type of workout offers the same cardiovascular benefits as running or fast walking without the strain on your body. Because you are pedaling instead of actually pounding your feet against the ground, your joints and muscles don't undergo the same strain, yet you are able to effectively boost your heart rate and breathing levels.

3. Lifting Weights

Strength training is another key component for elderly individuals. This practice helps you maintain and even increase your muscle mass as well as your bone mass. Lifting weights is a good way to boost your strength but doesn't have to be high intensity or extremely heavy. Try to work up to doing 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of 3 different lifting exercises, such as dumbbell curls, chest flies, and even weighted arm circles.

4. Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are a great way to get in some strength work with no added weight. The bands are elastic and designed to add additional resistance to your regular workouts.

Try one of these exercise suggestions or even consider doing some gardening or other yard work to get in regular activity. Staying physically fit not only benefits your body but also your mind, especially as you are getting older.  Let us know about your favorite exercises.

Other pages of interest:

Top Natural Remedies for Memory Loss

Top Natural Remedies for Alzheimer's and Dementia



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Posted by Shaka (Asheville, Nc) on 09/06/2016
5 out of 5 stars

Your exercise for the elderly article should include Pilates! There are a few women in my pilates studio who are over 65 and look amazing! They have very strong bodies from all the resistance training on the reformer machines. All the healthy people I know over the age of 70 exercise regularly in one form or another. A friend of mine mentioned recently that her 87 year old father goes to the gym and lifts weights every other day. He also takes music lessons. Oh, in addition to eating very healthfully. Going strong mentally and physically... it's possible after 80!