Solutions for Seniors
Part 2 – Keeping Fit
We see more and more evidence very day that as we grow older the physiological changes we all suffer from can be somewhat alleviated by some forms of exercise.
According to a recent Study commissioned by Age UK :_
“…. evidence also revealed that physical exercise, whether aerobic, resistance or balance activity, was the most effective way to ward off cognitive decline in healthy older people and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Studies suggest that exercise three to five times a week for between 30 minutes and an hour is beneficial. “
In other words, the onset of dementia for example can be delayed through various lifestyle changes, including exercise. This article is not intended to offer medical advice (consult your own physician) but to draw your attention to reputable information.
Perhaps the majority of people, especially us elders, baulk at the idea of exercise. Just the word itself is a turn-off for most people. “Exercise..?. At my age..? You’re kidding.”
Fair enough. But the mildest form of physical activity can deliver enormous benefits for wellness and perhaps longevity. If you can prevent, or at least minimize, your tiredness, soreness or just that feeling of lethargy, then wouldn’t you at least want to hear about some ways to help..? Of course you would. So here we go :-
But first, the cautionary statements.
- Do not do any form of exercise without your physician’s agreement
- Do not be brave and climb mountains on the first day. Take it easy.
- Do not think that it’s something to do for a week or two (until you get bored). This is a lifetime habit.
- Aerobic Exercise. The word “aerobic” simply means doing some physical activity requiring “air”. Walking for example will require you to need a little more air through breathing than sitting on the sofa. Aerobic exercises range from a gentle stroll to high-end stairmaster or treadmill machines. It is highly unlikely that you will ever get to the latter and while the former is a great start, you need to raise the level of activity as you build strength.
- Walking around the Mall. If you live near a nice shopping mall then this is a great place to go walking. Safe, warm, comfortable, even surface and if you get fed up there will be rest places such as coffee shops etc. Probably better to go wandering early in the morning when the mall is quieter. Go with a friend or two and you can chat and walk at the same time. Wear goos shoes, be properly dressed and build up your speed and length over time. No rush.
- Running through the park. This is a great place to walk then build up to a gentle jog. A softer surface. You should really not seek to be running full tilt. Your legs, especially those knees, will not support you. No need to strive to get shin splints etc. There is just no need to get faster and faster. Yes, you can lengthen your session over time, but take your time to do that. Marathons will never be in your goals list.
- Going to the gym. If you’ve never been to a gym in your younger years, the notion of going to join in alongside the “sweat jockeys” may be the very last thing on your bucket list. It can be daunting. So, there is no pressure to make you feel guilty if you can’t manage it. But be aware of the benefits of being in the gym. The equipment is there and it works, and you don’t have to put it away when you’re done. The fact that you are in the gym is a strong psychological motivator. “If I’m here I might as well do some work.” Machines like rowing machines or stairmasters or treadmills can all be gently started with, then built up IF you so choose. Probably not best to go early morning when all the early risers attend… or in the early evening when the going home crowd show up. Mid-morning, mid-afternoon are usually great times to go. Go see your local gym, tell them what you want and they will advise best time for you.
- Anaerobic Exercise. The word “anaerobic” simply means doing some physical activity which doesn’t require you to do heavy breathing. This could perhaps be the most important of any exercise you do. The objective of “muscle strengthening activities” can become the most important piece of your exercise regimen. Sore arms, sore legs, decreasing strength as we grow older are almost inevitable. There is no real cure to eliminate muscle soreness in this fashion, but mild strength-building exercise can slow it down and probably make it less painful for longer periods of time. Try using a small barbell weight to grasp in the hand (one at a time or together) to gently raise and lower the arm from the elbow. Start at 3 pounds for the ladies and 5 pounds for the boys. Slowly increase it to maybe 10 pounds then perhaps 15 pounds. Do that once a day and you’ll see considerable benefit in the short-term and know that the long-term benefits are building nicely.
- Stretching. Most athletes will stretch before and after their performance. It is a means to supple the muscles and sinews of the legs, arms, body etc. However most non-athletes even those who exercise regularly tend to skip this step of their routine. However whether you actually exercise at the gym for example or not, the stretching routine has great benefit as we grow older. You don’t need to do any fancy legs over the head routine (!!), but hands against a wall, feet apart, out 2-3 feet from the wall. Raise up and down on your toes and the calf muscles are stretched. Great for the legs. Or stay in the same position and do “push-ups” against the wall. There is no real weight being pushed so it is much gentler on the arms. Great for the arms and upper body.
These are just a few ideas to help your breathing and strength-building. You won’t become an athlete but you may significantly slow down the aging process in the physical sense.
Good exercising !!!
Good fishing…. !!!!