Life is movement, Movement is life

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Seniors and Exercise

Did you know that only 10% of indians older than 65 years exercise on a regular basis? Or that it's never too late to benefit from a regular exercise program?

Why Exercise?

A safe, effective exercise program can help reduce some of the pain as well as the progression of conditions associated with aging. For example:

  • Keeping active and exercising helps you maintain your ability to walk, which is especially important to maintain your independence.

  • Exercise can improve your strength, endurance, and flexibility.

  • Exercise can improve balance and posture, reducing your risk of falling.

Just 30 minutes a day of physical activity will help improve your health and quality of life. It will keep your joints and connective tissues more flexible. Exercise can even help slow the progression of osteoporosis. Researchers have also found a link between regular exercise and improved immune response. During moderate exercise, immune cells circulate more quickly through your body and are better at destroying viruses and bacteria.

If you're older than 65 years, start your exercise program slowly. Talk to doctor at A+ clinic about what you should and shouldn't do. Doctor at A+ clinic can help you tailor a program to your own level of ability and needs. Most older people can take part in a moderate exercise program, even if you are 85 years and older or have illnesses or disabilities.

Tips for Exercising

Here are some tips for starting and maintaining a safe and effective exercise program.

Preparation

  •     Warm up before you do any exercises. A warm-up period should begin with a slow, rhythmic activity such as walking. Gradually build up the intensity until your pulse, breathing, and body temperature start to increase.

  •      Don't do too much too fast. Begin any activity in short sessions. Try walking 500 yards or once around a track at first. Gradually, as your body adapts, you can add more distance.

  •      Practice improving your balance by standing on one foot while you dust or brush your teeth.

  •      Wear the right kind of athletic shoes with good support and comfort.

Exercise Safely

  •      Use common sense and don't exercise when you have a cough, fever, cold or flu. But don't let a temporary illness put a permanent stop to your exercising. Resume your activities as soon as you can.

  •      After an illness, start your exercise program at the beginning again. Don't immediately take up where you left off. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild. Consult a physician even if your illness is minor.

  •      Be alert to air quality if you work out at a gymnasium. Exercise at less-crowded times during the cold and flu season. Exercise outdoors whenever weather permits.

  •     If you live near an enclosed shopping mall, consider becoming a mall walker. Many malls open before the stores do and allow people to walk around. This allows you to exercise even if the weather is bad.

Nutrition

  •      Eat smaller meals, but eat more frequently during the day.

  •      Drink plenty of water. Your body needs more fluid when you exercise. Don't wait until you are thirsty to drink. Be sure to check with your physician. Some health conditions require restricted fluid intake.

Types of Exercise

  •    Choose activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. Exercise with a friend who will help you keep your resolve.

  •     Try Tai Chi or yoga. Tai Chi is a program of exercises, breathing, and movements based on ancient Chinese practices. Seniors who practice yoga have fewer falls and less fear of falling. These classes can also increase self-confidence and improve body balance.

Exercises For Persons 60 Years and Older

Warm Up

Exercises

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Exercise builds strong bones and slows the progress of osteoporosis. It also tones your muscles and helps you move about more easily by keeping joints, tendons and ligaments more flexible.

You should engage in weightbearing exercises, such as walking (considered one of the best methods of maintaining bone strength), jogging, hiking, climbing stairs, dancing, and weight training.

It is important to tailor your exercise program to fit your own level of ability and special needs. Most older people, even those 85 years and over and people with illnesses or disabilities, can take part in moderate exercise programs.

Warm Up

Preparing the body for exercise is important for persons at any age and all fitness levels. Before doing any of these exercises, it is suggested that you warm-up. A warm-up period should begin with slow, rhythmic activity such as walking. Gradually increase the intensity until your pulse rate, respiration rate and body temperature are elevated. It also is advisable to do some easy stretching exercises before moving on to these activities.

Exercises

Here are some exercises developed by the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. The exercises are arranged in three levels of difficulty. Once you have successfully completed all the exercises in Level 1, proceed to the next level. Remember, it may take several months to attain the minimal levels of physical fitness identified in Level 1 activities. Some will take less time, others more.

Remember before beginning any exercise program, you should discuss the program with your doctor and follow the doctor's advice.

Level 1

Shoulder Shrug


For the upper back, to tone shoulders and relax the muscles at the base of the neck.

 Lift shoulders way up, then relax them.
Suggested repetitions: 8-10

Sitting Single Leg Raises

To strengthen hip flexor muscles and tone lower abdominal wall.

Sit erect, hands on side of chair seat for balance, legs extended at angle to floor. Raise left leg waist high. Return to starting position.
Suggested repetitions: 10-15 each leg.

Knee Lift

To strengthen hip flexors and lower abdomen.

Stand erect. Raise left knee to chest or as far upward as possible. Return to starting position.
Suggested repetitions: 5 each leg.

Leg Extensions

To tone the upper leg muscles.

Sit upright. Lift left leg off the floor and extend it fully. Lower it very slowly.
Suggested repetitions: 10- 15 each leg.

Back Leg Swing

To firm buttocks and strengthen the lower back.

Stand erect behind chair, feet together, hands on chair back for support. Lift one leg back and up as far as possible keeping knee straight. Return to starting position.
Suggested repetitions: 10 each leg.

Quarter Squat

To tone and strengthen lower leg muscles.

Stand erect behind a chair, hands on chair for balance. Bend knees, then rise to an upright position.
Suggested repetitions: 8-12.

Level 2

Arm Curl

To strengthen arm muscles.

Use a weighted object such as a book or can of vegetables (not more than five pounds). Stand or sit erect with arms at sides, holding weighted object. Bend your arm, raising the weight. Lower it. (Can be done seated.)
Suggested repetitions: 10-15 each arm.

Modified Knee Push-Up

To strengthen upper back, chest, and back of arms.

Start on bent knees, hands on floor under and slightly forward of shoulders. Lower body until chin touches the floor. Return to start.
Suggested repetitions: 5-10.

Side Lying Leg Lift

To strengthen and tone outside of thigh and hip muscles.

Lie on right side, legs extended. Raise left leg as high as possible. Lower to starting position.
Suggested repetitions: 10 each side.

Alternate Leg Lunges

To strengthen upper thighs and inside of leg. Also stretches back of leg.

Take a comfortable stance with hands on hips. Step forward 18" to 24" with right leg, while extending arms straight ahead. Keep left heel on floor. Shove off right leg and resume standing position.
Suggested repetitions: 5-10 each leg.

Level 3

(In Level 3 strength exercises, lightweight resistance equipment, such as a dumbbell, is used. If you do not have a dumbbell available, a number of substitutes can be used. These include a bucket of soil or a heavy household item such as an iron, can of food, stone or brick.)

Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curls

To strengthen biceps of upper arms.

Sit comfortably on a flat bench with arms at sides. Hold a pair of dumbbells with an underhand grip, so that palms face up. Bending left elbow, raise dumbbell until left arm is fully flexed. Lower left dumbbell while raising right dumbbell from the elbow until right arm is fully flexed. Breathe normally.
Suggested repetitions: 1 to 2 sets of 6-10 repetitions each arm.

Alternate Dumbbell Shrug

To strengthen muscles in shoulders, upper back and neck.

Stand comfortably with dumbbells in each hand. Elevate shoulders as high as possible, rolling them first backward and then down to the starting position. On the second repetition, roll the shoulders forward and down. Alternate first backward and then forward. Exhale as you lower the shoulders.
Suggested repetitions: 10 (5 forward, 5 backward).

Dumbbell Calf Raise

To strengthen calf muscle and improve range of motion of ankle joint.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, weights in each hand. Raise up on toes lifting heels as high as possible. Slowly lower heels to starting position. Breathe normally.
Suggested repetitions: 5 with heels straight back, 5 with heels turned out, 5 with heels turned in.

Dumbbell Half Squats

To strengthen thigh muscles in front.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and heels on a 2' x 4' block (not necessary, but preferred). Holding weights in each hand, slowly descend to a comfortable position where the tops of the thighs are about at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Inhale on the way down. Ascend to the upright position with knees slightly bent. Exhale on the way up.
Suggested repetitions: 10-12.

Walking

A weightbearing exercise, such as brisk walking, is one of the best all-around activities for you. It helps improve the flow of blood to the heart and strengthens the leg muscles. Choose a comfortable time of day to walk, not too soon after eating or when the air temperature is too high. Start walking 1/4 mile each day the first two weeks, 1/2 mile each day the third week, 3/4 mile the fourth week and 1 mile the fifth week.

Start walking five days a week with a target of one mile each day the sixth week. Be careful not to overexert. Stop if you find yourself panting, feeling nauseous, if your breathing does not return to normal within 10 minutes after exercising or if your sleep is affected.

         
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