Walking: One of the Best Exercises for Senior Citizens and Aging Fitness

Exercises for senior citizens have been recommended by NIH, the National Institutes of Health. Here are the recommendations for how to begin a senior fitness program safely.

Safely Beginning Exercises for Senior Citizens

Listen to your body. Is the activity making you feel unwell or too tired? Endurance activities should not make you breathe so hard that you can’t talk. They should not cause dizziness, chest pain or pressure, or a feeling like heartburn.

Do a little light activity, such as easy walking, before and after your endurance activities to warm up and cool down.

As you get older, you may not feel thirsty even though your body needs fluids. Be sure to drink liquids when doing any activity that makes you sweat. By the time you notice you are thirsty, you probably are already low on fluid.

This guideline is important year round, but it’s especially important in hot weather. If your doctor has told you to limit your fluids, be sure to check before increasing the amount of fluid you drink while exercising. For example, people with congestive heart failure or kidney disease may need to limit fluids.

Older adults can be affected by heat and cold more than others. In extreme cases, too much heat can cause heat stroke, and very cold temperatures can lead to a dangerous drop in body temperature. If you are going to be outdoors, dress in layers so you can add or remove clothes as needed. When it’s not possible to be outdoors, you may want to try indoor activities:

  • If you have stairs at home, go up and down the steps a few times in a row.

  • Walk at the mall or grocery store.

  • Go for a swim at your local fitness or recreation center.

    Whatever activity you choose, stay safe. To prevent injuries, be sure to use safety equipment. For example, wear a helmet when bicycling. When you’re walking, watch out for low-hanging branches and uneven sidewalks. Walk during the day or in well-lit areas at night, and be aware of your surroundings. Ask someone to go with you. Wear the proper shoes.

    The Arthritis Foundation has developed a plan to help your aging parents start a walking program start a walking program and build up gradually.

    Benefits of Exercises for Senior Citizens

    According to BMJ the British Medical Journal,

    "Research shows that relatively high intensity aerobic exercise over a relatively long period boosted maximal aerobic power by 25%, equivalent to a gain of 6 ml/ [kg.min], or 10 to 12 biological years.

    "There seems good evidence that the conservation of maximal oxygen intake increases the likelihood that the healthy elderly person will retain functional independence," says the author.

    The other positive spin-offs of aerobic exercise are reduced risks of serious disease, faster recovery after injury or illness, and reduced risks of falls because of the maintenance of muscle power, balance, and coordination."

    Senior Exercise Routines: Warm-up, Balance, Upper and Lower

    Exercises for Senior Citizens to Talk Early Talk Often with Aging Parents Home Page

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