Exercise for the Elderly

Older adults struggling to move shouldn’t be relegated to a life of immobility. According to WebMD, a lack of physical activity contributes to dementia, mood disorders, and heart conditions.

Light aerobic and resistance exercises help maintain healthy bone mass, while preventing age-related muscle loss. Strength training allows seniors to perform everyday activities like climbing stairs and getting out of a chair with proficiency. It also lessens the risks of falling, and greatly improves quality of life.

If you, or someone you know, is taking care of an elder, follow our guide on this new-found fitness regimen!

Your Strength Lies in Keeping Them Safe

While exercise for the elderly is important, caution must also be exercised. Be sure your elderly loved one is participating in exercise that doesn’t push beyond any age-related thresholds. Limitations will always vary, so allow common sense to prevail when deciding on routines.

If seniors let their fire-in-the-belly ambition get in the way of restricted flexibility and good judgment, it could create a whole new set of health concerns.

Always Think Functionally

The shoulder press is a demanding exercise that an older adult may be able to do. Always check with your elder’s doctor whether this type of exercise can be given the green light. Because of its difficulty level, you may need to provide assistance with this exercise to ensure safety.

Seeing as the shoulder press builds stabilizing muscles that aid in reaching overhead, it will enhance the every-day functional strength integral to independence! It’ll make basic overhead movements, like reaching for plates or shampoo off the shower rack, as simple as they should be.

Sign Up for Fitness Classes

Fitness classes are a great incentive for older adults to keep active. It’s a lot easier to stay motivated when you have a coach and a team behind you. Many municipalities have Senior Centres which are a great resource.  For example, the City of Toronto boasts 13 Older Adult Centres to its name, where anyone over the age of 60 is eligible. They’re handily equipped with walking and running tracks for their members to exercise and interact, keeping their bodies in tune and their minds in tact!

Don’t Let Them Succumb to Common Aging Myths

The older adult in your life may be hesitant to embark on physical activities because they buy into falsehoods about the elderly and fitness. It’s been reinforced that they’re frail and weak, that exercising is hazardous to seniors, and that they don’t need physical activity as they age. They may not have the same physical strength and abilities as when they were young, but this does not mean that all physical activities should be completely off limits.

While it’s prudent to be understanding of both your elder’s insecurities and their limitations, do your best to encourage their motivation in maintaining strength and balance. Explain that they don’t need to do anything overly vigorous and that they have your support!

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