Every morning before the first ray of sunlight, public parks are bustling with walkers who go around briskly taking in the fresh air. Most of them are older than 50. They do it religiously every day with conviction. To the generations before us, physical activity was not a separate part of the day or it didn’t mean working out in a room full of equipment. It was embedded within their day-to-day lives in a habitual manner. Sadly, today due to some major shifts in lifestyle and lack of space at home, physical activity has considerably decreased and has been restricted to parks and gyms.
During the prime of our lives, humans are strong, agile, and are able to heal fast. As the years go by, the human body grows old and deteriorates. It becomes slow, the bones become thin and the immune system starts to weaken. Physical endurance decreases and frailty starts to set in. Growing old is part of the natural order, but it is marred with both physical and mental issues throughout the world.
In the developed nations, people aged 65 and above are considered as senior citizens or the elderly, but the World Health Organization puts it at 55 in a study based in Africa. The life expectancy of humans has increased to 85 years these days, so using exercises to keep fit during these years is a wise plan.
A wrong notion that is prevalent among people is that old people are too frail to work out. It is believed that they should take rest and shouldn’t exercise. On the contrary, moving around and being busy is very important to senior citizens. It makes them healthier and at the same time, it’s refreshing for both mind and body. After retirement, many elderly people are affected by social stigmas and loneliness. This leads to depression and other mental health problems. Having a good walk in the morning or a mild yoga session not only is good for health but also helps build a positive environment.
Even for senior citizens, a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise is required per day. Maintaining BMI (body mass index) is important as well as it helps with diabetes and other diseases that are associated with obesity. It also improves the rate of metabolism, thereby decreasing digestive issues.
Falling is one of the most common causes of injuries in old people. It happens due to loss of balance. Different types of simple exercises are available to help improve balance. Chronic heart diseases and other major causes of deaths in the elderly can be prevented by exercising.
It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercises or strength training. A routine work out session that doesn’t overtire a person can be very beneficial. Loss of muscle mass and bone density are the main issues that cause the body to deteriorate in old age. Weight training exercises can help with gaining muscle mass and strong bones. Cardiovascular exercises such as jogging, cycling and aerobics are very important for the heart and lungs.
Body stretching exercise is needed to keep the body agile and also helps with sore muscles.
Water exercises are good for the older age group. Swimming especially is easy on the muscles and helps tone them. As there is less weight on your joints while swimming, it is one of the best exercises for people with joint and bone trouble. Balance control also improves as swimming strengthens the core muscles in one’s body.
Even a slow start is good as no age is too late to get fit. The most important thing is to enjoy the exercises but at the same time not overdo it. It is always safe to ask the doctors before beginning any new regimen. Healthy food, enough water and fun physical activity will definitely elevate the quality of life in any age group.