Why do you need to Stay Fit?Leading a sedentary lifestyle can pave way for diseases such as obesity and heart disease. It weakens bones and makes the elderly dependent on someone else. When dependency leads to frustration, it can also push them into depression.
Benefits of staying active in old age:
- Helps to stay independent
- Boosts metabolic rate, helps in healthy weight management and maintains ideal muscle mass
- The sense of balancing is maintained, and reflexes are kept active, which in turn reduces the risk of falls
- Improves flexibility of the body
- Increases bone density, and prevents osteoporosis
- Helps prevent serious health conditions like heart attack, diabetes, stroke, etc
- Elevates mood and reduces the risk of depression
- Exercising in groups can improve social life. A walk in the park also fetches more friends
How Much Physical Activity is required for the Elderly People?The requirement of physical activity for older people depends on their health conditions and mobility of the body. Adults aged 65 years or older ideally require:
- About 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 5 days a week.
- Muscle strengthening exercises for 2 or more days a week. The muscles of the legs, hips, abdomen, shoulders, chest, back and arms must be stretched and strengthened.
Cardio endurance exercises: The exercises that get your heart pumping include brisk walking, climbing stairs, hiking, cycling, swimming, rowing, dancing and tennis. A schedule that incorporates 30 minutes of any of these, 5 days a week, can help keep up the oxygen levels and therefore energy levels.
Strength and power training: Repeated motion using weights or elastic bands can help prevent loss of bone mass and muscle mass. This improves balance and strength and also keeps the reflexes going.
Stretching exercises: Stretching your muscles and joints can help keep them in full range of motion. Stretching exercises reduces the impact of the injury to the muscles and joints.
Ways to Stay Active as You Get OlderWater aerobics: Working out in water can be less painful on the muscles and joints.
Tai Chi and Qi Gong: These are movements inspired by martial arts and are excellent for improving strength and balance.
Yoga: Yoga involves breathing right, stretching exercises and working on individual muscles. This improves strength, flexibility and balance on the body level. It also helps in better maintenance of cognitive skills like memory, concentration and alertness. Yoga is also beneficial to older adults who suffer from aches and pains.
Daily life activities: Activities involving daily routine can be made fun and also a means of keeping active. Some such activities include:
- For light aerobic-type activities - Cleaning the house, gardening, shopping
- For strength training - Lifting young children, carrying groceries or shopping bags, lifting things while doing household chores
- Stretching - Picking up things from the floor, tying shoelaces
- Listen to music while exercising
- Take photographs with your walking buddies or with the nature at the park
- Watch a favorite television program while on the treadmill
- Play tennis with partners
- Find an exercise buddy and compare your exercise schedules and weight loss rates
- Walk the golf course instead of asking for a ride in the cart
- Choose to use the rake to clear up leaves in the backyard, instead of using a leaf blower.
- Sweep the sidewalk
- Instead of chatting with a friend over coffee, go for walks together
- Walk your dog every day
- When you are stressed or feeling depressed, go for a short walk down the lane. It not only takes you away for a while but also produces “feel-good” hormones in the blood.
- Park your car at the farthest parking slot and walk your way to the mall
- Walk down every aisle of the departmental store while shopping
- While waiting for your water or milk to boil, don’t just stand there. Stretch yourself, do push-ups on the wall, try toe-raises or do knee bends
- While talking over the phone, keep walking or pacing up and down instead of sitting and talking.
How to Exercise when there is a Change in the RoutineLife isn’t all about following the same routine always. While you have settled down, life surprises you with a little twist of events. Maintaining the exercise schedule or physical activity levels becomes even more imperative in such situations.
Exercising while on a vacation: Most of the hotels have fitness centers. Find a suitable one for your vacation. Take along the exercise clothing like swimsuits, walking shoes, etc. Exercise bands are easy to carry along while on a vacation. Instead of taking a car or bus, keep a maximum walking schedule during sight-seeing.
When your exercise buddy moves away: Go for a new exercise buddy while keeping in touch with the old one. Join a gym or aerobics class and make new friends.
When you relocate: Check out fitness centers and join classes. Take a stroll in the park to watch who is walking regularly and make friends with them.
Caring for an ill spouse: Ask a family or friend to be with him or her, while you go for your walk. You can also do low impact aerobics at home, while your spouse is taking rest.
Mild illnesses or flu that makes you go off-track: Once you have recovered from the fever or flu, start slowly by walking inside the house. Once you get the energy back, gradually build up activities to your previous schedule.
After undergoing surgery: If you had to undergo a surgery that has disrupted your activity levels, discuss with the doctor about how to resume the exercises. Talk to the doctor about any specific activities that need to be done, or avoided.
Latest Publications and Research on How to Stay Active as You Get OlderThe exploitation of fresh remains by Dermestes maculatus De Geer (Coleoptera, Dermestidae) and their ability to cause a localised and prolonged increase in temperature above ambient. - Published by PubMed
Neighborhood walkability and physical activity among older women: Tests of mediation by perceptions and moderation by depressive symptoms. - Published by PubMed
Visual short-term memory through the lifespan: Preserved benefits of context and metacognition. - Published by PubMed
Mental rotation training in older adults: The role of practice and strategy. - Published by PubMed
Perceived constraints in late midlife: Cohort differences in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). - Published by PubMed