August 20thThe Four Pillars of an Effective Fitness Program for Seniors
Cardio, strength, flexibility and balance exercises provide health and independence
Physical fitness is important at any age, but as an older adult it is even more important as it can mean the difference between independent living and assisted living. Exercise isn't just good for the body, but exercise and fitness routines also help improve your mind, your mood... even your memory, making those "older moments" less common.
After years of "downturn", many seniors find themselves in a sedentary lifestyle. The CDC reports that only 11% of older adults meet strength-training recommendations, and nearly 35% of adults age 75 and older do not engage in any physical activity, recreational or household.
An effective exercise program for seniors has four components: endurance, strength training, flexibility, and balance. Adjusted to each individual's needs, these four elements can help you live a healthier, happier and more independent life.
Resistance: Every workout plan should include cardiovascular exercises. Many seniors experience joint pain and cannot handle high-impact cardiovascular exercise. Swimming, yoga, water aerobics, walking, and tai chi are all gentle cardiovascular exercises that can get your heart pumping. They also strengthen joints, a key component of a fitness plan for seniors, improve cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure. In terms of independent living, by introducing a cardio fitness plan into your life you will improve your stamina, ability to run errands, walk and stay mobile.
Fortaleza: Strength training is the only way to prevent bone loss and increase bone density. Osteoporosis is one of the most common health problems in women. A solid exercise program is one of the best ways to counteract bone loss. Also, everyday activities that require strength won't be as overwhelming: getting in and out of cars, opening glasses, being able to do half squats, going to the bathroom by yourself.
flexibility: As we age, our freedom of movement becomes restricted. Simple things like looking from side to side while driving, tying shoes, getting something out of the closet - all of these activities require the ability to move our bodies freely. Stretching, yoga, and tai chi are all great activities to make your body more flexible and increase your range of motion.
balance: Loss of balance is a common problem in older people. Many believe it just has to do with inner ear and vision problems. This may be true, but often the lack of balance is due to a lack of muscle strength and joint mobility. There are specific exercises to improve balance, including yoga, tai chi, and posture exercises. Better balance helps reduce the risk and fear of falling.
Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. Understand what limitations you may have, what obstacles you may need to overcome to start the journey to fitness. But when you incorporate these four pillars of exercise into your fitness regimen, you'll see a leap in the quality of your life.
Contact your medical vehicle provider today to discuss the best fitness program for you.