Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults
BENEFITS OF EXERCISE FOR OLDER ADULTS
As we get older our ability to perform physical activity declines. We fatigue quicker, are less able to lift heavy objects and movement slows.
Physical inactivity can lead to medical conditions that reduce life expectancy. It also reduces the ability to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADL) i.e washing, dressing and cooking.
To slow the decline and in some cases reverse ailments, older adults should aim to conduct:
- Moderate exercise for 150 minutes per week,
- For those who are already regularly active, comparable benefits can be achieved through 75 minutes of vigorous intensity per week or a combination of both.
- They should also partake in muscular resistance 2-3 times a week
- Stretch, preferably on a daily basis.
Ensure the progress is gradual and balanced (cardio, resistance and stretching) build a good strong fitness base. You can do more harm than good if you rush the process.
Benefits of Physical exercise for Older Adults are improved:
- Mental Health by releasing feel-good endorphin’s natural chemicals in the brain that can enhance your sense of well-being
- Muscular strength which helps with ADLs and ability to remain independent.
- Improved bone density
- Reduces risk of falls
- Reduces blood pressure
- Confidence through improved independence
- Balance and coordination
- Increased energy levels
- Improved cognitive health and emotional wellbeing- Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body
- Social interaction
Before embarking on an exercise regime, it’s important to check with your Doctor to ensure you’re healthy enough for exercise. If you have an existing health condition the GP may recommend Exercise Referral, this is where a medical professional refers a patient to a fitness programme.
If GP Exercise Referral is not applicable to you and you would like a tailored fitness plan specific to yourself or a small group of friends you could always hire a Personal Trainer. The advantages are that the lessons would be aimed towards your goals and each and every exercise could be adapted to suit.
Just ensure that the Personal Trainer is qualified, experienced and insured to take you.
If the cost of a Personal Trainer is off putting and you feel overwhelmed by the thought of joining a gym there are numerous groups which may be better suited to you, Exercise classes are a great way to improve your overall fitness and mental wellbeing whilst getting you out and about meeting new people. Examples being:
- Walking groups
- Tai Chi
- Water Aerobics
- Body weight exercises
- Outdoor circuits
- Seated exercise groups
- Walking Football
To name a few activities, but it all really depends on your interests, goals, cost and availability of clubs within your local area.
Whatever avenue you choose to take, chat to the instructor and they should be able to answer your questions and alleviate any concerns. As an added bonus some clubs offer a free first lesson so you can see if that training would be enjoyable and beneficial to you before committing to any potential payment scheme.
If you haven’t trained for a while, ensure you walk before you run (so to speak). If you over exert too soon you could injure yourself or be sore for days restricting progress.
It is important to note that everyone has different levels of fitness and abilities and you shouldn’t feel limited to what you can do.
I currently train older adults in Personal Training both online and face to face, and HIIT classes in all cases their outlook and ability is really inspiring.