Seniors: prevent falls & losing your independence
While a lot of people exercise mainly for weight loss, we all need to exercise to keep our bodies functioning at full capacity. Walking is great, but it’s not enough. In fact, if all you do is walk, you’ll become weak, more prone to accidents and broken bones, and being forced to live in a nursing home.
“Adults who are less active are at greater risk of dying of heart disease and developing diabetes, colon cancer, and high blood pressure” (1). If you don’t do enough exercise, this negatively affects your sleep habits, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Do you consider yourself active? “…More than half of all older adults believe they get enough exercise through minimal walking and routine activities. In truth, more strenuous activities provide greater fitness gains and more preventative benefits” (1).
Don’t you want your independence? Don’t you want to stay in your home for as long as you can? You can make your future bright, by following these guidelines to stay “young.”
- Do bodyweight and weight lifting exercises with low to moderate intensity twice a week for 30 minutes. Exercise every muscle (not just the ones you like) with a full range of motion, and do 15 repetitions of each exercise. Give yourself two full days of active rest from these workouts to let your body recover and get stronger.
- Do standing exercises. If you sit for every exercise, like on a bike or seated machine exercises, your core and your stabilizing muscles will get weak. Weak stabilizers means poor balance and high probability of falling, so do standing exercises every workout.
- Do 30 minutes of cardio three times a week. Don’t just walk! To get stronger, you can’t do what’s easy. You don’t want to exercise just on the bike either. Do different exercises; ie: treadmill, bike, stepper, classes, rowing machine. This prevents boredom and overuse injuries. Can’t afford a gym membership? You can buy a few sets of light weights and work out at home. There’s also free exercises videos on different TV networks. My favorite light aerobic video is a 22-minute program called Classical Stretch, Eccentrics by Miranda Esmonde-White on PBS, Monday through Friday at 5:00am PST (record it and watch later).
- Stretch for flexibility. It’s much easier to hurt yourself if you have tight muscles and muscle fibers so stretch after cardio and weight training. The old ways of stretching before a workout led people to get injured so make sure you’re completely warmed up before stretching.
“Dr. Herbert Devries at USC has shown that men and women in their 70’s and 80’s can achieve levels of vigor associated with people 30 years younger,” so skip that wrinkle cream and plan your youthful routine today (1).
(1). Source: Hatfield PhD., Frederic. Fitness: the Complete Guide. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print. Pgs. 619-623