Safe Exercise for the Elderly


elderly exercise

Many people believe that elderly people only become frailer as they  age.  This does not need to be true.  It is within the power of most  older people to reverse this process through safe exercise.  A medical  professional should be consulted before beginning any program of  exercise, but barring any severe health problems, a program that is  built up gradually shouldn’t pose a problem.

Recommended exercises for starters are low-impact, that is movement  that will not overly-jar the joints, such as walking or swimming.  Many  swimming pools offer water aerobics classes catering specifically to  seniors.  Stretching and strength training are also safe additions to  this exercise routine.  Examples can be found through the internet or in  neighborhood classes of yoga, feldenkrais or tai-chi, among numerous  other possibilities.  Additionally, a number of regular, household tasks  can bring the same benefits as organized exercise.  Gardening, vigorous  cleaning, going out to the mailbox and even folding laundry can all be  turned into stretching, moving activities.  In fact, chasing after  grandchildren can be a better workout, and much more fun, than the most  flashy gyms and high-tech aerobics classes.

There are some precautions that should be taken before and during  exercise.  First of all, have the right equipment.  This includes good,  supportive sport shoes, loose-fitting clothing and an easy-to-use water  bottle.  Staying hydrated is of vital importance.  Likewise, any  dizziness or difficulty breathing should be reported to a doctor.  Any  workout must include both warm-up and cool-down exercises in order to  avoid injury.

The benefits of consistent activity are clear for anyone.  For young  and old alike, exercise helps one lose weight and increase strength,  flexibility and lung strength.  Of particular interest to older people  is that exercise increases blood flow to the brain, induces better sleep  and promotes good balance.  Having an exercise partner will help assure  getting out and about with social interaction on a regular basis.  In  doing so, exercise also helps fight depression.

So, grab a good day and a good friend and have a great time getting out and moving!

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