All of us have to get old. It is a natural phenomenon and no one can stop the aging process. Aging brings with it a lot of physical changes in our body. Grey hair, wrinkled skin, reduced body mass, loss of strength, loss of calcium from bones resulting in stooped posture and feeling of weakness are common characteristics of aging process. Though, more or less every aged person suffers from some of these factors, but some exercises for seniors can greatly reduce the ‘symptoms’ of aging, giving you a graceful old age where you can still enjoy your life in a healthy way.
Health Benefits of Exercises for Seniors
Apart from enhancing the overall mobility and metabolic functioning of the body, proper exercise can have many other miraculous effects for the seniors. Some benefits of exercises for seniors are mentioned here;
1- As exercises strengthen body’s immune system, they can result in better fighting ability against various illnesses and hence also insure rapid recovery.
2- Since in old age, the body becomes comparatively more immune to cardiac disorders, one of the greatest benefits of exercises for seniors is that these exercises help reduce the risk of cardiac disorders. Moreover, they keep the blood pressure under control.
3- Exercises improve digestive system and thus help remove the toxins from the body.
4- They help in healthy muscle build up and thus make day-to-day activities, like walking and lifting objects, easier for you.
5- Another advantage of exercises for seniors is that they help against old age osteoporosis because they reduce the risk of bone deterioration and hence also reduce the chances of fractures and stooped postures.
6- A number of chronic ailments related to old age can be kept away with exercises e.g. dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, colon cancer, diabetes etc.
7- Physical exertion improves stamina, thus ridding you of excessive fatigue and weakness and helping you live on your own.
8- The stress and anxiety are reduced because exercises lead to a sound and healthy sleep and hence healthy body leads to healthy mind.
9- Going to a gym or a park for exercising improves social life as you get to know about many other people who may prove a good company.
Different Exercises for Seniors
Some effective exercises for seniors are given here;
Flexibility Exercises for Seniors
These are the exercises which improve muscle flexibility by stretching them. The main advantage of such exercises for seniors is that it reduces the chances of joints stiffness and muscle soreness by increasing mobility and also protects them against any injury. Some of the common flexibility exercises for seniors include yoga, tai chi and Pilates. However, for those who cannot move their body or have balance problems, even the lighter stretching exercises, while sitting on a chair or bench, can do the job very well. E.g. opening and closing hands, getting up from the chair without any support, and raising your feet above ground level etc.
Aerobic Exercises for Seniors
Aerobic exercises enhance the heart beat rate to a healthy level, thus ensuring proper supply of oxygen and essential nutrients to the tissues in every part of the body while burning extra calories at the same time. Some of the common aerobic exercises for seniors include walking, swimming, cycling and climbing stairs. Although, aerobic exercises are recommended by doctors for 30 minutes daily, but if you can’t do in a go, you can take a break after every ten minutes.
Strength Training Exercises for Seniors
These exercises are meant to enhance muscle strength through repetitive movements. Two most common strength training exercises are push ups and weight lifting. You can start with lesser number of push ups and lighter weight and can gradually increase the number and weight once the body gets used to it. However, if you are a patient of high blood pressure or similar disorders, you should avoid strength training exercises.
The above mentioned exercises for seniors are really effective but even then you should consult your doctor before you start any of these exercises. He is in the best position to advise you in the light of your medical history. Moreover, to avoid injuries, you must follow proper warm up and cool down. Select an exercise which you find interesting enough to carry on for a longer time period, and if it feels too boring to go for exercise, you can try pairing up with some friends for exercise.