Performing exercises and physical activities is very beneficial for the elderly. Suggested below are some of the activities which elderly should undertake to increase their physical strength, flexibility and endurance, and longevity. No one can deny the fact that a person who exercises every day is more likely to be physically fit than those who lead sedentary lifestyles. This is especially true amongst the elderly. Research has shown that if physical activities are undertaken on a regular basis, it reduces the risk factor for developing various health ailments, and keeps at bay certain cancers and heart diseases. Besides this, various health predicaments like obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol, are much less likely to occur in older people, if they choose to make time for exercise. It has accounted that effect of common old age problems like arthritis, in which the bones tend to become weak, can be minimized if a person undertakes an exercise regimen, such as the ones suggested below.
This is the simplest and safest of all kinds of exercises. If you have never exercised before, start with walking for just five minutes initially at a slow pace. Based on your stamina, you can increase the duration as well as your pace gradually. Plan a milestone to be achieved. For example, walking ten thousand steps a day in a stipulated amount of time. At the initial phase, this form of elemental exertion can do wonders, keeping you spry.
Cycling and Swimming
Cardiovascular exercises are a must to stay healthy and ensure that there is no excess weight gain. So, take up cycling every morning or join a club and have a swimming session there, to beat the heat and stay energetic and fit.
Weight training exercises can be performed by the elderly in their fifties and sixties. These should be undertaken thrice a week for about half an hour. When weight training in old age, a physical trainer is a must. The trainer will design the appropriate calisthenics accordance to the fitness levels needed with respect to the age. Usually, exercises such as leg presses and squats for strengthening the legs, upward cable cross, bench presses, skull crunches for the chest and triceps, barbell shrugs, bench dumbbell shrugs for the shoulders, amongst other exercises, are recommended for the elderly.
Stretching each and every body part in slow, steady movements is a great way to maintain flexibility. Stretching exercises should form a major part of your exercise regimen as they will help you stay active in your senior years.
These exercises build leg muscles and decreases the chances of falls and fractures. Elderly who undertake balance exercises on an everyday basis are less likely to suffer from disabilities which are often caused due to weak bones in old age.
Besides calisthenics, a number of fun activities which can serve as a form of an exercise are gardening, watering the plants, weeding, etc. These are good physical exercises which keep adults active and alert. Playing sports like golf, badminton and table tennis, dancing, fishing and boating are some other fun ideas for the elderly. Making explicit life choices, such as climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator, walking to the nearby market instead of driving, or parking the car at one far end of the market and walking up to it, going out to purchase your newspaper instead of getting it delivered at home, walking your dog every morning and evening; all these elderly activities are good for enhancing the health.
Healthy Diet and Adequate Rest
For maintaining good health, along with physical activities, following a balanced diet is of utmost importance. A diet which provides you with all the essential nutrients rich in vitamins, especially vitamin D. Calcium and fiber intake should be increased in the elderly as both these are needed in older age for good health. Drinking adequate water and beverages like soup, non-fat milk, herbal teas and fresh fruit juices, will do seniors a lot of good.
Sleeping well and taking rest to recuperate and rejuvenate is essential. Social activities such as meeting up with friends and family will ward off feelings of loneliness, stress, and depression. Taking up a part-time job or working for the underprivileged is a great way to maintain physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Health conditions and diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and blood pressure, depression and stress, arthritis, dementia, and cancer are observed commonly in the elderly. During old age, it's not necessary to undertake strenuous and long exercises, instead, a regular routine of moderate, low-impact exercises is much more effective.