Exercise for Older People
Exercise for Older People
by Paul Bedford
You are never too old to get active. As we grow older, we become more susceptible to injuries. Therefore, it is important to do the right sort of exercise and, just as importantly, to ease up on the wrong sort of impact activities.
Stay away from running as it puts a lot of impact stress on the joints. Cycling or swimming are great low impact exercises that raise the heart rate. Keeping your workouts low impact will also decrease the chances of osteoporosis occurring.
PLENTY OF RECOVERY TIME
Rest is key – even if you are young, ﬁt and exercising regularly. But, as we grow older, our bodies take longer to recover. Make sure you rest up every other day to let your body fully rejuvenate. Muscles and joints will probably feel quite stiﬀ the day after exercise, so sit back and take on plenty of omega 3 (oily ﬁsh) to help ease up those aches.
You don’t have to go throwing yourself around a gym to get your workout. There are plenty of leisure activities out there – a good walk will put you in the weight loss training zone as well as burning a few pounds. Gardening (a very under-rated activity) is superb for activating those muscles and burning oﬀ calories. Be careful with the digging, take breaks and do plenty of lower back stretching.
“Help ease-up tight joints and muscles”
FLEX & STRETCH
Stretching is vitally important as we grow older. Muscles and joints can become tighter, so stretching them on a daily basis is recommended. Stretching also assists with the range of motions that muscles can perform, allowing us to take on daily tasks more eﬃciently. Also, it improves circulation and can help in preventing injuries. Make sure you stretch properly and if you’re unsure consult your doctor or local gym.
You have worked hard all your life so make sure you take time to relax and treat yourself! Getting a massage once a week will relieve tension in the muscles and even give you a mental pick-up. Some Health Clubs have saunas, steam rooms and spas – these are all ways to kick back, relax and enjoy the beneﬁts.
Yoga and Pilates have plenty of beneﬁts for older participants. Yoga can help improve your mind and soul. Give it a go cynics! It will also improve your spine’s ﬂexibility which will aid against postural dysfunction and will help ease-up tight joints and muscles. DVDs are available but, even better, go to a class for a session with an expert and hangout with your fellow Yoga lovers!
Yes, even our brain slows down as the years add up and it needs exercise too. Keep learning and keep discovering new things. This will help maintain your mental health and studies show it combats dementia or Alzheimer’s
Three Questions I’m Frequently Asked as a Personal Trainer
Recently I have been dieting and doing lots of exercise and the pounds just aren’t shifting! I’m feeling constantly tired and I just don’t get it. What am I doing wrong?
You might not believe it, but perhaps you’re not eating enough. If you don’t take in enough calories your body will go in to starvation mode and store all your fats, instead of breaking them down. This doesn’t mean go out and eat five burgers – eat good calories and, if you’re exercising, eat high carbohydrate foods such as pasta or rice as these are great for energy. Give it a try, if it doesn’t work it could be genetic, so go see the doc.
“Allow rest days in order for the muscle to rebuild”
I am struggling to put muscle on. I am weight training, doing between 12-15 reps and three sets of the exercise. Am I doing the wrong things?
James Croft, Bradford
Possibly. You may need to change your training techniques. You are working in the muscular endurance zone, which is a good place to start but not the best for putting muscle weight on. Drop the reps to 8-10 and try increasing the weight so you use diﬀerent ﬁbres in the muscle to help them grow. Make sure you take plenty of protein and allow rest days in order for the muscle to rebuild.
I have just been diagnosed with arthritis in my knees – how will this aﬀect my exercise?
Sara Medley, Adel
I deal with lots of clients with arthritis. You must also talk to your doctor but I can advise to stay away from high-impact exercises such as running or dance aerobics. Swimming is a great exercise for pulse raising and it’s non-weight-bearing so you shouldn’t get any pain. See a professional before you exercise to help you.