Exercising for the Elderly: Benefits and Tips

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Exercise is the body’s way of feeling alive. After you exercise you feel rejuvenated, energized, and accomplished. Everyone from all different age groups benefit from exercise from toddlers to the elderly. Exercise is most beneficial if you continuously do it throughout your whole life. Keep in mind, it is never too late to start and you don’t have to be experienced to see results, you just have to try.

The elderly is the age group that can benefit the most from exercise. They are at higher risk of health problems due to stagnation and if done correctly, can reverse health issues and injuries. Moderate exercise can accomplish many tremendous healing effects including weight control, mood increase, and energy enhancement. Aside from these top three reasons to exercise, there is a much longer list of benefits including:

• Preventing disease
• Promote internal & external healing
• Improve cognitive function
Improves balance preventing falls
• Stabilizes immune function
• Protest against bone loss
• Creates insurance
• And many more…

When someone isn’t used to exercising, make sure to start them off small. Working out 15 minutes a day in the first week can be a great time to build on to. Each week, increasing the time by 10 minutes, this will maximize the chance of the exercise regime lasting indefinitely. Simple exercises work best at first. A few great exercises the elderly can enjoy doing include walking, gardening, golfing, swimming, and shopping. These are all perfect activities to introduce a more enjoyable way of working out.

Once moderate and enjoyable exercise is introduced and accustomed to, more challenging exercises can be introduced. Either purchasing exercise gear or joining a gym can be the perfect next step in advancement. On of the best pieces of workout gear to purchase for use at home are lightweight barbels. Barbels that are 5 to 10 pounds will provide just the right amount of resistance for the arms and legs. Doing traditional arm curls and squats for short reps with 15 second rest period in between will prevent exhaustion and keep the heartbeat at a reasonable rate. Another option is to join your local gym. Joining a gym is not only a great way to get exercise, but it’s a great way to meet people. Most gyms hold classes that are created just for the elderly which is the perfect opportunity to introduce new workouts. For example, senior yoga; it’s gentle enough for someone new to working out and conducts a great workout routine!

Embarking on this new physical journey can be a challenging at times, but there are ways to ensure it is a success. Make a plan. Decide how many days per week working out will happen, and stick to it. Take it slow. Don’t rush into physical activity if you are not used to it. Enlist in a partner or an accountability coach. Having someone to work out with you and/or hold you accountable will help create an achievable routine. Have fun with the process. Doing things you enjoy and tracking your success can make this fun. When you see progress, you will be excited about the next step and conquer more than you expected. Remember, working out improves your overall quality of life so the main reason to do it is for you!

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