Exercises For The Elderly

Exercises For The Elderly Are Important

Exercises for the elderly are no less important than are exercise for young people. For the elderly, exercises are not usually devoted to building muscle mass, though weight training is often advised for those capable of doing it. Neither are exercises devoted to reaching peak performance levels or keeping pace with a still-growing body.

Stretching And Balance Are The Keys - While many of the elderly who are in sound health can still play tennis, participate in fun runs or marathons, or go for a daily swim, the most important exercises for the elderly usually focus on stretching and balance, two activities necessary to keep the body fit and flexible and reduce the chance of falling. Endurance and strengthening exercises are important as well, but are often customized to best fit in with the abilities of the individual.

As we go through life, many of us tend to get banged up in some in one way or another, and as we approach the 70s or 80s arms and legs sometimes don't function as well as they once did, backs get sore, and our endurance starts to flag. Arthritis often rears its ugly head, sometimes making the simplest of movements painful. Elderly people sometimes feel that really can't exercise, some feel, usually incorrectly, they're too fragile to exercise, and some simply don't even want to think about it, feeling they've paid their dues.

If you go to a health and fitness center, especially one that is sponsored by a hospital or medical center, and has its fair share of the elderly as members. it can be a real eye opener. Some in their 70s and 80s still play racquetball, some work on the weight machines, admittedly using lighter weights than most, yet making it from machine to machine using their walker. Others spend time in the swimming pool or therapy pool, and many attend stretching, flexibility, and yoga classes.

Muscle Tissue Building - Circulatory problems, respiratory problems, or joint problems often make jogging or running off-limits to the elderly, but walking is still a wonderful exercise for maintaining and building endurance, and often improving circulation and respiration in the process. One can still benefit from bench pressing 50 pounds instead of trying for 250. Working on the machines or with free weights builds and strengthens muscles, no matter what one's age is. One is never too old to profit from building muscle tissue, but in the case of the elderly the goal is seldom bodybuilding, instead it is one of body maintenance.

More About Balance - Watching a group of 60 and 70 year old people doing exercises in a balancing class and who have been working at it for some time, can put a high school student, even some high school athletes, to shame. Balancing exercise are valuable for preventing stumbles and falls, but in addition just makes one feel good. Being able to balance on one leg for 60 seconds, while moving the other leg and the arms as well, gives one a terrific boost of self esteem and confidence. Some senior citizens can go though a set of balancing exercises they have never before done in their life, and often thought they never could.

Disease Prevention Or Treatment - Exercises for the elderly not only help maintain ones physical abilities, but a good program of exercise has been proven to improve medical conditions such as cardiac and respiratory problems, and high blood pressure, and has been proven to lessen the risk of developing certain diseases. A program of exercise is often prescribed for those suffering from diabetes, a disease which all too often dampens any desire to exercise. Arthritis is often cited as a reason for not exercising due to the discomfort involved, yet exercise is often one of the best courses of treatment for various types of arthritis.

There are few good reasons for the elderly not to exercise. Even those who are bedridden can often ease their situation somewhat by following a program of gentle stretching. Any senior citizen who regularly exercises will attest to the fact that if nothing more, exercises for the elderly just makes them feel a whole lot better than they otherwise might.