Face the following facts: As people age, there is a loss of muscle mass, strength, flexibility and bone. This leads to a loss of mobility and, therefore, independence. Regular exercise such as aerobics, strength training as well as balance and flexibility exercises can mitigate these negative effects. Now consider: By 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be older than 65. A well-designed exercise plan can delay or prevent loss of functioning until the 90’s and longer. Now that’s motivation!
Many older Americans are afraid of exercise thinking that they will hurt themselves. However, strengthening muscles and improving flexibility, balance and bone density is the most beneficial thing you can do to prevent injuries and falls. Just make sure all exercises are approved by a medical and healthcare team and all should be good to go!
An exercise regimen incorporating goals specific to the elderly client while taking into
account their specific deficits is the most constructive way to develop an effective program. This is best accomplished using a fitness trainer who is acquainted with the elderly and their special needs. They have a sense of how much to push them along on the path of improving their strength, flexibility and mobility. Employing a trainer for at least the first few sessions will also help solidify the plan of attack and ensure that the exercises are being done correctly. Having videos available for ongoing use will reinforce what was learned and make sure that the exercise routine is appropriately followed.
Basically, you need about 30 minutes of exercise per day which can be broken into two 15 minute or three 10 minute intervals. If someone hasn’t exercised in awhile, it is best to start slowly with shorter, more frequent periods of exercise.
Be patient and remember it’s never too late to begin exercising since every movement leads on the path of optimal physical health.
Activities should include some aerobic or cardiovascular work through activities like brisk walking, bicycling, swimming or even jogging. Strength training is great for enhancing balance to reduce the risk of falls and to help in general with getting up and down and generally all around. Yoga is a wonderful and relaxing form of exercise as is Tai Chi. For those who are able to get out, strength training can also be done using machines in a gym.
David York Home Healthcare Agency has designed worksheets to ease the planning and tracking process. Please check out the packet here or on the resources page. We hope they will help better organize those who have made this momentous resolution and ring in true health for this New Year. Good health and happiness to all!