Inactivity plays a significant role in health decline and keeping fit helps slow it down and preserve our wellbeing.
As we grow older, maintaining an active lifestyle through regular exercise can make a profound difference in preserving our physical strength, mental health, and general well-being. This article explores how staying fit is paramount to our health as we age by
Research reveals that inactivity often plays a more significant role in age-related decline than the ageing process. When older adults become sedentary and lose the ability to perform daily tasks unaided, the cause is usually inactivity rather than age. The takeaway? Keeping physically active is pivotal to healthy ageing.
Keeping Fit: Exercise for Overall Well-being
Regular exercise not only maintains fitness; it also provides extensive health benefits as we grow older. Studies confirm that staying physically active can:
- Lower the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
- Improve management of conditions like arthritis, hypertension, and balance issues.
- Enhance emotional health and cognitive functions.
- Preserve independence and the ability to perform daily activities.
Simply put, routine activities keep the mind and body functioning optimally. It is never too late to begin exercising.
4 Types of Exercises for Old People
Experts highlight the importance of four main types of exercise as we age:
- Endurance: Aerobic activities like walking, swimming and cycling boost cardiovascular health.
- Strength Training: Lifting weights maintains muscle mass and bone density.
- Flexible Exercises: Stretching enhances the range of motion and prevents injury.
- Balance Training: Exercises like yoga improve stability and prevent falls.
Varying exercises provide full-body benefits while preventing boredom and injuries. Supportive tools like treadmills or resistance bands allow adapting activities to enhance fitness.
Walking is a simple exercise and studies have revealed it as the most common and accessible physical activity for older adults. Low-impact and easy to incorporate into everyday life, walking delivers cardiovascular, muscular, and bone health gains. Other endurance exercises include swimming and cycling.
Home Exercise Options
For older adults unable to leave home frequently, simple exercises like chair workouts, squats, stretches, and lifting light weights which can be done at home provide valuable activity without equipment. Online videos offer guidance. Supportive tools like treadmills or stationary bikes can also enable exercising at home.
Overcoming Exercise Barriers
Lack of time and health concerns are common barriers to exercise. However, small amounts of activities like a 10-minute walk can be of great benefit. Checking in with a doctor for exercise guidance and starting slow can help overcome obstacles. Exercising with others provides social motivation and accountability partners.
National Physical Activity Guidelines
Health organisations recommend that older adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and perform muscle-strengthening exercises twice weekly. Every movement counts!
Balance training also helps preserve stability and prevent falls. Building physical activity into a daily routine makes it sustainable.
How to Make Exercising Part of Your Routine?
1. Choose activities that can be done every day: Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a small exercise you can imbibe in. Take the bus instead of an Uber once in a while.
2. Having a workout partner: Choosing a steady partner while working out will make you more likely to enjoy exercising. Having swim meetings and friendship marathons can help also. Join groups interested in exercise like dance classes, and clubs. Plan social activities.
3. Always keep track of your progress: Using a fitness tracker or keeping a log of your activities can help you achieve your fitness goal and motivate you to exercise. Keeping fit is a steady process and requires tracking your progress.
4. Mix things up: While exercising, you can try listening to music or watching TV. Also, try other types of exercises. Do not stick to one type. When exercising becomes boring and repetitive, the motivation to keep exercising reduces. You can also combine different types for a variety of purposes.
5. Find exercises you can do even with bad weather: Simple activities, home exercises, and gym workouts are a few to try. Do not let the weather stop you from keeping fit and staying healthy.
While exercise may become more challenging with age, the rewards are immense. Adjusting intensity and seeking guidance enables seniors at every fitness level to stay active. Walking, gardening, and various activities support thriving in later life. As the saying goes, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!” Stay fit for life.
Researched by Olamide Opebiyi