The human body needs exercise to operate at full capacity. Exercise is important at any age, but can be particularly beneficial for individuals over 50. The key is finding exercises that are both safe and effective.
Benefits of Exercise
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 28 to 44 percent of seniors ages 65 to 75 are inactive, meaning they don’t get enough daily exercise for optimal health. Studies indicate that there are many reasons to engage in regular exercise. Some of these are:
- Delaying or preventing chronic illness
- Promoting better sleep
- Facilitating weight loss
- Relieving stress
- And many more!
Engaging In the Right Exercises
While it may have been the norm to do multiple, rigorous repetitions of exercises during one’s youth, as a person ages, it’s a good idea to employ different strategies. Certain exercises are better than others and can help reduce the risk of injury.
Before starting any type of exercise regimen, talk with a physician about the pros and cons of certain activities. The doctor may be able to provide guidance as to which activities are better for specific health conditions. For example, an individual with arthritis may want to seek low-impact workouts, such as water aerobics.
Once a doctor gives the go-ahead, here are some great exercises.
* Walking: Walking remains one of the best exercises for people of any age. The pace and resistance can be set by each individual by walking faster or slower, uphill or downhill. Adding light weights can make the workout even more effective. Walking is also easier on the legs and knees than jogging, but can be just as effective as a cardiovascular workout.
* Leg extensions: Repetitions of leg extensions stretch the muscles of the legs and flex the knee joint. This can promote longevity of the knees and keep knee replacements at bay.
* Swimming: Enrolling in a local gym that has a pool can be a boon to those over 50. Swimming is a low-impact workout that targets most areas of the body while providing a cardiovascular workout. Swimming can be also be relaxing and enjoyable, so it’s an exercise that many people don’t mind doing. Many local gyms offer the Silver Sneakers program for those over 65, Flexorcize water classes conducted by the Arthritis Foundation, and Osteo-Fit, an osteoporosis prevention and control program.
* Strength training: Moderate weight lifting can keep muscles strong and promote a healthy metabolism, considering muscle burns more calories than fat.
* Endurance exercise: Just about any activity that gets the heart rate up for an extended period of time is good for the body. This can be raking leaves, mowing the lawn, walking, bicycling, playing a game of catch, etc. Be sure the doctor clears any such activities beforehand.
One in five people 65 or older are eligible for SilverSneakers. The SilverSneakers benefit allows its members access to more than 11,000 fitness centers, generally at no additional cost. Here in Niagara Falls, Silver Sneakers is available at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Cardio Pulmonary and Wellness. To learn more, call (716) 278-4019 or visit www.silversneakers.com (TF113607)