As we age it becomes more and more important that we continue to strive towards maintaining an active lifestyle. As we grow older, our bodies require more attention and focus, especially the heart. According to The National Arthritis Data Workgroup of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, approximately one in every seven –nearly 40 million–suffer from some form of arthritis. This number is expected to climb as baby boomers continue to age. By the year 2020, it’s expected that roughly 60 million of us may suffer from arthritis. It’s important that older individuals understand the importance of exercise and how to do it properly.
When we become older and retire it’s easy to think negative. We can very easily start to assume that our life is over and we have nothing to look forward to accept aging then death. Many older adults succumb to feelings of depression brought on by the thought of their life as no longer being useful. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, many of our older adults are considered likely to commit suicide. 20% of all suicide deaths in 1997 were by individuals aged 65 and older.
Exercise and activity is not only for the young at heart, more importantly it’s the older individuals of society that must make the valiant effort at staying active. Life is a gift and should be viewed as such no matter what age you are. Taking care of your body throughout your life and into your older years can prevent you from living your golden years in pain or fighting illness to survive. Your golden years should be viewed as a time of relaxation, peace and solitude while you watch your younger family grow and prosper. No one wants to spend their retired years immobilized in a hospital bed or under 24 hour medical care and supervision.
It can be hard to think 25 or even 30 years into the future and where we may see ourselves. We were put on this earth not possessing the ability to look into the future. The future is not set, it’s the conscious decisions we make today that create our future – we end up in a future we create for ourselves and everything centers around choices we make today.
All older adults are affected by the need for long-term care. More than 40 million people have some form of limitations in their activities of daily living due to various chronic conditions. It is believed that around 9 million of us of all different ages are significantly confined due to disabilities or illnesses and require assistance or long-term healthcare service.
Making the decision to incorporate regular activity into your regime can aid in maintaining good health and a sharp mind. Older people must be aware that regular exercise not only strengthens the heart but also prevents future bone loss which can lead to fractures. The health benefits of exercise stem far beyond increased muscle strength and improved coordination into areas such as disease prevention.
Many older people may not have someone to care for them consistently so being able to live life independently should be a main focus on everyone’s minds in regard to their future. Being able to carry grocery bags and get out of bed without pain at 65 could be a gift unlike any other. It’s up to your choices now that can lead you into a future destined for either pain or pleasure – which do you choose?
- Focus on maintaining good posture, form , and alignment during exercise.
- Start each exercise session by warming up for approximately 10-15 minutes on a bike or treadmill.
- If new to working out, perform exercises that aren’t difficult to execute; focus on strength , balance, coordination, and flexibility.
- Focus on your breathing; as we grow our lung capacity decreases so stretching the upper body after warm up is good because it will help to open up the chest muscles. Towards our elder years chest muscles shorten which can lead to various medical conditions.
- Exercise no longer than 30-60 minutes per session; any longer and you may run the risk of enduring future orthopedic injuries.
- Aim to exercise 3-4 days a week.
- Drink lots of water.
- Make sure movements performed are safe; if unsure consult with a qualified exercise specialist
- Do not ignore discomfort or pain; if you feel pain or discomfort stop exercising and consult with a professional immediately.
- Wear suitable exercise clothing