Keep Moving to Stay Healthy
Regular exercise is essential for maintaining your loved one’s good health. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t move it, you lose it.” That phrase certainly applies to older adults. Exercise programs for seniors not only keep your loved one moving, they’re beneficial to their overall health as well. For seniors who want to stay healthy and somewhat independent, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends four types of exercises:
- Strength exercises help build muscles and increase metabolism, which keeps body weight and blood sugar in check.
- Balance exercises build leg muscles which help to prevent falls. According to the NIH, over 300,000 people are admitted to hospitals each year for broken hips caused by falling.
- Stretching exercises help increase flexibility and promote freedom of movement, enabling seniors to stay active and mobile.
- Endurance exercises are any physical activity such as walking, swimming or bike riding. These cardio exercises help increase the heart rate, the breathing rate and promote circulation throughout the entire body. They’re ideal for improving heart health and controlling blood pressure.
Yoga as an Exercise AlternativeYoga is another form of exercise you might want to consider for your loved one. Designed to increase flexibility and enhance the quality of life, yoga exercises for seniors are a wonderful way to keep mind and body working together in harmony.
The basics of yoga include physical postures, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. Yoga can be done just about anywhere and it can be done standing, lying down or sitting in a chair. Simple joint exercises combined with controlled breathing are beneficial for depression, anxiety, arthritis, chronic pain and heart disease. Yoga also lowers blood pressure, enhances the immune system and improves balance .
Seniors who choose to practice yoga exercises must always be mindful of what they’re doing and avoid pain or strain. You or your loved one should always let the teacher know about any health issues such as a joint replacement, arthritis, balance problems, high blood pressure or glaucoma. That way the teacher can modify the exercises accordingly and reduce the risk for injury.
Always Get a Doctor’s OK
Make sure to check with your loved one’s doctor before they start any type of exercise program, particularly if they have a medical condition or a mobility issue. It’s also best to make sure they start out slow and gradually increase the intensity of their exercises. Keep in mind, it doesn’t take much for seniors to strain a muscle or aggravate a sore joint. Inactivity can result in loss of strength and muscle tone, so keep your loved one moving as a means to better health.