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The Benefits of Exercise for the Elderly

Posted by Deborah Lee on

Myths debunked

'I'm too old to start exercising.'

'What if I lose my balance and fall down?'

Many seniors shy away from the idea of exercising due to such fears and misconceptions. However, regular exercise actually helps strengthen bodies and increase stamina. In turn, this improves ones balance and decreases the risk of falling.

Regularly exercising also reduces aches and pains, giving you that energy boost and allowing you to spend more time leisurely walking around the neighbourhood and playing with your grandchildren.

As long as there are no pre-existing medical conditions that discourage taxing physical activities, age should not be an obstacle to exercise!

 

Reducing the impact of diseases

Staying physically active can prevent or delay the onset of many diseases and disabilities such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and even some cancers. Those with arthritis and heart diseases may benefit from regular exercise, as it helps keep blood vessels flexible and ensure good blood flow. Always consult your doctor before embarking on an exercise program so that they can gauge your physical condition and level of fitness.

Boosting mood and managing stress

Moderate exercises done regularly can aid in managing stress and improving your mood since it releases endorphins, which is a “feel good” hormone that energises your spirit. Another benefit of exercise is that it helps stave off depression, serving as a distraction that lets you find respite and break away from the cycle of negative thoughts.

Some exercise is better than no exercise

The recommended amount of exercise that older adults aged 65 and over should do is at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (e.g. brisk walking) and 2 or more sessions of strength exercises that work out the hips, shoulders, abdomen, legs and arms.

However, if this seems overwhelming, fret not. Even clocking in a few minutes of physical activity each day is better than staying inactive. Start with smaller intervals of 5 to 10 minutes before gradually increasing them to 15 to 30 minute sessions. The key is to dedicate a portion of your time each day to exercising and persevere on!

References: 

Sollitto , M. (n.d.). Exercise for the Elderly . Retrieved June 9, 2016, from AgingCare: https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/Exercise-benefits-for-the-Elderly-95383.htm

Robinson, L., Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2016, May). Help Guide. Retrieved June 9, 2016, from Exercise and Fitness as You Age: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/exercise-fitness/exercise-and-fitness-as-you-age.htm

Robinson, L., Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2016, May). The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise. Retrieved June 9, 2016, from Help Guide: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/exercise-fitness/emotional-benefits-of-exercise.htm

NHS. (2015, July 11). The importance of exercise as you get older. Retrieved June 9, 2016, from NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/activities-for-the-elderly.aspx

NHS. (2015, July 11). Physical activity guidelines for older adults. Retrieved June 9, 2016, from NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-older-adults.aspx

Images: 

4 Happy Seniors - http://cdn.c3a.com.sg/1371026187_170081754_AhDf.jpg

2 Seniors Stretching -http://www.healthxchange.com.sg/healthyliving/seniorhealth/PublishingImages/Best-Exercises-for-Seniors.jpg


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