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Exercise And The Elderly

Posted by Deb Spinelli on 10/22/2015
Not only is it perfectly safe for those over 65 to exercise regularly, it is also highly recommended. The benefits of exercise throughout a person's life cannot be overstated. In fact, almost all people can benefit from some form of additional physical activity. Not only does regular exercise protect people from chronic disease, it also improves mood and reduces the chances of injury.

Of course, this is not to say that the elderly should not be a bit more careful than others when undertaking a fitness program or learning a new type of exercise. As we age, the body begins to take longer to repair itself. Thus the typical muscle fatigue associated with exercise can last longer in the elderly, and the elderly may also be more susceptible to injury if they are not careful when exercising.

Despite a longer recovery time, however, the benefits of regular exercise for the elderly far outweigh the risks. Even those who suffer from chronic ailments can still benefit from some type of low impact exercise. In fact, many medical conditions are actually improved through the addition of regular exercise.
  • Exercise improve immune function. A healthy, strong body is better able to fight off infection and illness, as well as being better able to recover more quickly when illness does strike.
  • Exercise improved respiratory and cardiovascular function. Regular physical activity can help to lower blood pressure as well as the risk of heart disease.
  • Exercise improves gastrointestinal function. Regular exercise helps the body to efficiently eliminate waste. It also encourages digestion.
  • Exercise improves bone density. Since exercise protects against loss in bone mass, a common problem for the elderly, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis as well as the risk of broken bones.

Other conditions that may benefit from exercise include:
  • Alzheimer's and dementia
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Colon cancer

Regular exercise can also lead to the improvement of other conditions in the elderly. When your elderly loved one begins a regular exercise regime, he or she may see improvements in blood pressure, neuro-cognitive function, lipid profile and osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Regular physical activity is also linked to decreased mortality in older adults. Exercise training among the elderly can also lead to improved balance and a reduction in falls. The best exercise program for the elderly includes aerobic exercise, strength training, and exercises to improve balance and flexibility.

Posted in: Elderly Care, Exercise