Lack of exercise and a highly sedentary lifestyle are two major contributors to serious health problems among older adults. As people get older, they tend to significantly reduce the amount of physical activity they do. This can lead to heart disease, obesity, and an increased risk of falls.
The fear of falling is one of the most common fears that seniors share. It is estimated that nearly half of the community-dwelling older individuals have a fear of falling. This is often the reason why seniors avoid physical activity. The serious potential health problems of leading an inactive lifestyle show that exercise is incredibly important at an older age.
If you begin to lead an inactive lifestyle, you will experience a gradual decline in your energy levels. It’s also likely that you will experience pains and aches you never had before. While it is imperative for seniors to stay active, they should avoid exercising too often.
How Much Physical Activity Do Seniors Need?
Seniors who are suffering from one or more chronic conditions should talk with their medical professional before starting to exercise. For healthy older adults, it is recommended that they get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. It is understandable that some people who suffer from chronic conditions will not have the strength and endurance to achieve this. Nevertheless, they should get as much exercise as they can handle.
The recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week should be broken down into smaller parts. For instance, the best approach would be to exercise 30 minutes a day, five days per week. There are several different moderate-intensity activities you can choose from, including hiking, brisk walking, riding a bike, gardening, and even pushing a lawnmower.
Older individuals who would like to do more than moderate-intensity exercises can try more challenging activities, like jogging, hiking uphill, aerobics, tennis, football, and running. It is important that you are aware of your physical capabilities before you take part in any vigorous exercises. In case you choose to go the more challenging route, know that you will get the same health benefits from 75 minutes of vigorous exercises as you would from moderate-intensity activities.
You should take two days per week to do some muscle-strengthening activities. This is very important because it can help you prevent muscle loss. Ideally, you should do ten exercises, with up to 15 repetitions of each exercise during every workout. Although the first activity that may come to mind when talking about muscle strengthening is lifting weights, there are also other exercises that provide outstanding results.
Some of the most popular muscle-strengthening activities include exercises with resistance bands, calisthenics, Pilates, yoga, and tai chi. If you do some heavy gardening, like shovelling or digging that is also considered a good muscle-strengthening exercise. If you are not familiar with exercises that can help you build muscle mass, you should go to a local gym and find an appropriately qualified trainer that is going to guide you.
The Negative Impact of Too Much Exercise for Seniors
If you determine that you can easily do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week and want to dedicate more time for workouts, you should gradually increase the length and intensity of your training sessions. Some people get too eager when they start to exercise regularly because they want positive changes to happen as soon as possible. However, this approach can do more harm than good.
It is important that you always listen to your body when engaged in physical activity. This way, you will know what your limits are and when to stop exercising. Some of the most common signs of getting too much exercise include being sore for days at a time, extremely low energy levels, and nausea. In case you develop any of these symptoms, you should immediately stop doing physical activity and change your training plan. If the symptoms last for days, it is advised that you get in touch with your medical professional.
There are a few different things you can do to reduce or prevent the negative impacts of over-exercising. The first is to stay hydrated before, during, and after your workout. The second is to start with simple activities and slowly build your strength and endurance. Finally, you should find a workout buddy. Doing this will not only keep you motivated to exercise, but it will help ensure that you stick with the workout plan you and your buddy choose.
The Benefits of Outdoor Fitness for Seniors
It can be hard for older adults to find the motivation to engage in some form of physical activity on a daily basis. When you do not have a job and hardly any obligations, it is easy to switch to an overly sedentary lifestyle. One of the best ways for seniors to stay motivated is to find outdoor activities that they will enjoy.
Doing 30 minutes of brisk walking five times per week for years can become quickly become incredibly boring. Nevertheless, the physical activity will not seem boring if you get creative and find fun and interesting activities.
It goes without saying that outdoor fitness has a positive impact on the health of seniors. There are several important health benefits of engaging in outdoor physical activity. Older adults are able to live more independently if they exercise on a regular basis. They will also have a decreased risk of developing health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes.
Specific exercises like jogging and brisk walking can make your bones stronger and reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. In case you suffer from chronic conditions like arthritis, you can alleviate some of the pain and aches you experience through strength training.
While there are several notable physical health benefits of exercising for older adults, there is also a huge positive mental health impact. Seniors can significantly improve their quality of sleep and reduce fatigue by engaging in physical activity. They can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety as well. Exercise is a great and completely natural way to boost self-confidence and increase happiness. On top of that, it can slow down the progression of cognitive decline, which is a common problem among seniors.