The Benefits of Exercise for the Elderly

The Benefits of Exercise for the Elderly

Article by Alexia Cameron

Staying young at heart and improving your overall health are inevitable benefits when it comes to exercise. With age our hearts and bones may weaken, making exercise invaluable.

The benefits of exercise are endless. Even a small improvement in strength can assist joints and make your parent’s ability to sit, stand and walk significantly easier. Exercise also improves the quality of sleep, making it easier for people who regularly exercise to engage in sleep more deeply. Participating in physical activity releases endorphins, so your parents will feel happier and more content. It also increases brain functionality and helps in combating diseases, fighting depression and preventing Alzheimer and dementia.

Before beginning an exercise regimen it is important for seniors to get a checkup from the family doctor. If your parent will be exercising in the comfort of their own home it is also advisable to get a medical alert system in case of emergency. Medical alert systems, like LifeFone, provide on call specialists 24 hours a day to ensure early intervention.

Exercise for the elderly does not have to be strenuous. It is important to focus on four main areas of exercise: stretching, strengthening, endurance and balance.

Stretching will help prevent injuries from daily movement, it is also important to stretch before exercising to loosen up tight, cold muscles. Important areas to concentrate on include the calves, hamstrings, shoulders, triceps and the upper and lower back.

Purchasing a light, basic set of hand weights is essential to strengthening. However, your parents might want to start out with no weights to test their strength and work up to using them. Take all exercises slow. It is also important to work on strengthening your back as you age since it can stiffen and become more sensitive. Working on your back will help with overall health.

Whether your parent decides to jog, walk or swim, they will gain endurance as long as they participate in these exercises consistently. It is important to drink water before and after exercising and have your parents check their heart rate.

Balance is lost with age, but it can be improved through exercise. Balance exercises should not be attempted alone. Falls are of great concern to the elderly, so the more time they can spend improving balance, the easier it will be for them to maintain good health and independence.

About the Author

Alexia Cameron is a contributing writer for Search Revolutions.

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