The body’s need for exercise never changes throughout the life span. People who remain active and engage in activities they enjoy stay healthy, boost their energy levels and maintain a healthy body weight. Exercise is also necessary to promote “feel good” neurotransmitters in the brain and provide a sense of well-being, reduction of stress, and support of a brighter mood. An exercise routine should include aerobic, cardio and strength training.
Walking is an Aerobic Exercise
Walking, even at the pace of a casual stroll, will help strengthen ankles, leg muscles and improve balance significantly enough to prevent falls. Effective walking exercises include:
1. Wear well fitting and comfortable shoes
2. Walk on flat surfaces and avoid uneven areas
3. Tighten the abdomen and buttocks
4. Use good posture and walk tall
5. Swing arms back to front but not above the sternum
6. Take smaller steps at a faster pace
7. Increase speed until you are slightly short of breath
8. Slowly increase walking endurance until at least 30 minutes daily is reached
Low Impact Cardio in a Swimming Pool
As people age, the shock absorbing tissue of the joints becomes thinner in the hips, knees and ankles. These joints become more vulnerable to the impact of bearing weight. A swimming pool provides low impact exercises that protect the joints during aerobic activity.
1. Walk in chest or waist deep water in a swimming pool
2. Walk flat footed and keep the back straight
3. Tighten the tummy muscles to avoid leaning over
4. Swing the arms back and forth
5. Add light ankle weights for more resistance
6. Slowly increase endurance until 30-40 minutes a few times a week is achieved
Strength Training with Arm Curls
Light weight training builds muscle, prevents bone loss and improves balance. Start with a dumbbell that is heavy enough to provide resistance during a set of 8 to 12 lifts, but not too heavy to cause unnecessary muscle fatigue. Perform 3 sets of 8-12 arm curls per weight training session.
1. Stand tall or sit in a chair with a straight back and place the feet flat on the floor
2. Grasp the weights with palms inward and arms down at the sides
3. Take a deep breath and brace the abdominal muscles for the lift
4. Lift one weight and rotate the arm until the elbow is bent and the weight is
level with the chin
5. Straighten the arm and repeat the weight curl with the opposite arm
6. After performing a set of 8-12 weight curls with each weight, rest 1-2 minutes.
7. Perform a total of 3sets of arm curls and continue to rest between them.
8. Slowly build up to 15-20 minutes of weight training sessions 2-3 times a week
Special Health Considerations for Exercise
As people age, they can continue to receive the benefits of activity by observing appropriate considerations into their exercise routine. Anyone starting an exercise program should consult their physician before they start. Ensure medications and health conditions do not contraindicate certain exercises. Experiment with activities to find enjoyable exercises that engage the body as well as the mind.
Nisha is a freelance writer currently helping to represent the charity http://www.mhaauchlochan.org.uk