Exercise for Senior Health

Exercise for Senior Health

Article by Stephanie Rice

Exercise is a key ingredient in a healthy lifestyle �” whether you are 20 or 70. Physical activity can improve strength, balance and brain function as well as prevent disease. Along with building a strong cardiovascular system, the benefits of exercise are significant at any age, and can be especially important to maintain senior health. Studies have shown that regular exercise for seniors is vital to senior health and to the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and Osteoporosis. Some seniors become less active as they grow older, but the importance of regular exercise to their health increases as they get older. Learning low impact exercises and strength training techniques can improve bone structure and brain function.

Senior Health, Exercise, and Alzheimer’s disease

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, the onset may be slowed or even prevented through exercise. Cardiovascular activity may increase blood flow to areas of the brain that deal with memory, improving brain function. It’s recommended that you do some sort of cardiovascular activity three or more times a week to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Some common cardio activities include:

• Walking �” 30 to 60 minutes 3 or more times a week.

• Running �” 30 to 60 minutes 3 or more times a week.

• Bicycling �” 30 to 60 minutes 3 or more times a week.

• Swimming �” 30 to 60 minutes 3 or more times a week.

Senior Health, Exercise, and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is common among seniors and is a major senior health care issue. As we age our bones naturally become weaker. The calcium needs at age 50 increase dramatically and many people don’t get enough calcium in their diet or vitamin supplements. Regular exercise can treat and even reduce the risk of Osteoporosis. Impact and pressure put on the bones from exercise cause them to strengthen to support the extra weight, boosting bone mass. The following exercises can help treat and prevent Osteoporosis, improve senior health, and reduce the need for senior health care:

Weight-Lifting �” By lifting weights you’ll put more pressure and weight on your bones, leading to a gain in bone mass. Weight lifting also increases metabolism and blood flow to the brain for enhanced brain function. Do this activity two to three times a week for 30 minutes.

Cardio �” Cardiovascular activity such as walking, running, and climbing stairs will force your bones to grow because of the impact and weight placed on them. Walking outside is more helpful to maintain balance and mobility than walking on a treadmill or using exercise equipment emulating stairs. Seniors interested in lower impact cardio activities can ride a bicycle or elliptical machine. Cardio activities should be done four to six times a week for 30 to 60 minutes.

Stretch �” Stretching not only improves your flexibility, but provides a solid foundation for muscle growth. You’ll see muscle gains faster and easier when stretching.

Training for Balance �” Balance is vital as we get older and unfortunately only decreases with age. Training for balance is important for the prevention of falls. Yoga and tai chi are great activities for improving balance, flexibility, and muscle control.

About the Author

Stephanie Rice has been an active social worker and advocate of senior health care for over 11 years. She is dedicated to senior health, and helping seniors make a smooth transition from independent living to a senior health care facility.

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