As a person grows older, the fitness level keeps dropping. Exercising becomes difficult and few natural processes go out of control. To keep up with the changes, following an easy exercise program is very important. With age, people become slow, fragile, weak and unstable. Research shows that exercise helps stay fit and age slowly.
Exercising ability and aging
It becomes difficult to jump, stretch or lose weight with age. Exercise regime may not work with the elderly, like they work for the youngsters. There are several reasons for this. First is because the metabolism rates decrease by about 10-20%. This makes it difficult to lose weight. Second, the ability to consume oxygen decreases. This reduces the ability to do Cardio or aerobic exercises. Third, respond to energy stimulating hormone decreases. So, one cannot perform effort intensive things. Fourth, muscle strength and bone density decreases, along with the loss in elasticity in tendons and ligaments. These make the body inflexible, making them slow and sometimes immobile.
Suitable exercise for the elderly
Getting old is something we don’t have any control on. An old person cannot suddenly start exercising. One should keep exercising throughout the young age, to make this a little easier in the future. Here are a few things that the elderly should target.
- Flexibility – To improve flexibility, the elderly should focus on something like basic/ beginner Yoga program. This requires less of balancing and controlling. Full body stretching should follow this. This is because after yoga, muscles are warm and can get stretched.
- Muscle strength – To increase muscle strength, weights can be lifted. This will be a little easier for the elderly, as there is less chance of injury or falling.
- Bone density – Bone density can be improved if simple things like loading and impact can be done. However, for some seniors, this may prove difficult. In such cases exercises like chest or overhead presses, lunges and squats can be done.
- Endurance towards Cardio – Walking on a treadmill in slow speed is a good idea. Endurance towards cardio can only come with time. Elderly people can start walking slowly, and improving their balance by holding the rails. Speed can gradually be increased. Even cycling can help increase heart rate and boost fitness.
- Metabolism – As stated earlier, metabolism becomes slow with age. However, if the elderly can do stuff like jogging, riding bicycle at a fast pace or climbing a few stairs, they can increase their breathing level. This in turn will help burn fat and support metabolism. But over stretching oneself in this age, to achieve something is not good.
Simple exercise program for the elderly
Keeping the above points in mind, seniors can follow this simple regime every day. 10 minutes riding a bicycle (including at fast pace – for cardio benefits). Next is stretching and bending. They should spend 20 minutes in full body stretching, also involving toes, elbow, neck, raising hands, twisting and leg circles. This should be followed by 2-3 sets of 9-12 repetitions involving body circuit. This includes shoulder and leg press, leg extension, curling, chest press and pulls down. The last step should be abdominal bracing – lying on the floor and tightening the muscles in the abdomen. These simple fitness steps will help the elderly live a better life.