Vitality for Seniors
Strictly for Seniors
Society is so obsessed with youth and looks it is all too easy to become filled with feelings of hopelessness and frustration when we look in our mirrors. Perhaps you see someone looking back that you know could be in better shape with a little effort. Sadly, if you watch a workout show, chances are you will see a room of people under 30 -- maybe even 20 -- with youth and vitality in full bloom.
While it is an accurate portrayal of health and vitality, not a one of us can remain that way forever. First, keep in mind what we see on TV and in magazines etc., is not the norm. Furthermore, age need not be a factor when it comes to the significant health benefites, both physically and mentally, derived from exercise.
You can reap just as many rewards from exercise at the age of 70 or 80 as you can at 20 or 30. In fact, you most likely gain more benefits. This is not about vanity at this point in our lives; it is about health and independence. Those should be high priority over ego and obsession with youth.
In truth, the older we are, the more harm we do to our health when we are inactive. As we age and if our health becomes a bit fragile, we have a tendency to avoid doing just the things we should be doing because we think we could harm ourselves.
One need not -- in fact, should not, jump into anything strenous. By beginning slowly and gradually increasing time and/or intensity you can more than double your strength in a very short period of time. Regular exercise will also help reduce the risk and/or prevent the effects of many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Once a regular exercise program is under way, seniors will feel better overall, have more energy and if not already living independently, often become more able to do so. For example, many who needed help bathing or dressing discovered the strength they achieved with exercise allowed them to perform these necessities on their own again. Along with the achievement comes restored dignity and confidence.
Because many seniors do suffer multiple medical problems, it is essential to get a physician's approval before undertaking an exercise program. If there are no medical reasons preventing physical activity, the doctor can provide you with safe guidelines and specific, easy to perform exercises. If there is any risk of injury or falling, the person beginning a new exercise should do so with supervision until they are able to perform the exercises safely on their own.
There are many exercises one can performe without equipment. A can of food works well as a one-pound weight. In fact, a successful exercise program requires little more than time and commitment. The key is to exercise on a regular basis. The recommended level for light to moderate physical activity is 30 minutes per session, three to five days a week. Seniors achieve the the most health benefits from exercise in four areas:
These exercises help the heart, lungs and circulatory system work more efficiently, increasing energy levels and stamina.
Lifting weights or exercising against resistance increases muscle strength and mass, and makes bones stronger, which can slow or reverse bone loss due to osteoporosis. You do not have to use heavy weights to gain srength and endurance. Just enough that you feel some resistence so it does do some good.
Broken hips and other injuries caused by falling are a serious problem leading to disability and a loss of independence. Improving balance helps lower the risk of falls.
By keeping the body limber, stretching exercises improve range of motion in the arms, legs and back, and can also help prevent falls.
*Information source: National Stroke Association
Hint: You could be a big help if you participated with your loved one in a program.