Exercise tips for seniors

All Woman

Dear Donovan,
What precautions should seniors take into consideration when starting a new exercise programme? I'm especially concerned about mobility issues, such as injuries, weaknesses and tight spots. I am 65 years old and want to keep active for as long as I can.

Staying active at any age is important. However, an active lifestyle may even be more important for seniors.

Regular exercise may help to reduce the risk of many lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and even some forms of cancer, as well as improve balance, flexibility, endurance, muscle mass, and strength.

Additionally, regular exercise may also reduce the pain of joint swelling from arthritis, which is often a big problem associated with seniors. Exercise can also help to promote healthy bones, muscles, and joints.

It should be noted that exercise for seniors can boost the immune system and promote better respiratory and cardiovascular health too. Also, exercise is important in reducing blood pressure, blood lipids, blood sugar, and even helping to improve mood and preserve cognitive function.

That said, it is very important for seniors, 65 years and older, who wish to start a new exercise programme, to consult with their doctors to determine their state of health and physical fitness.

It is important to note that as we get older, our flexibility, muscle mass, endurance, balance, and bone density usually decreases. Loss of bone density can also lead to osteoporosis, which can increase the risk of bone fracture.

In addition, hypertension and poor balance can result in falls among the elderly. Lack of endurance can result in seniors having challenges with exercise and day-to-day activities overall.

However, it should be noted that the benefits of senior's exercising far outweigh the risks. It might also be important for seniors starting a new exercise programme to work with a professional gym instructor so that they can be monitored during their exercise session.

Exercise should be done in the right way, because not doing the exercise properly might be just as bad as not doing any exercise at all.

Adults with a sedentary lifestyle who wish to start a new exercise programme should not engage in high-intensity sessions. High-intensity exercises can increase the risk of injury.

It is best to start with five to 10 minutes of moderate exercise and gradually increase to the required amount over time. It is generally recommended for seniors to do three main types of exercise. These are stretching and flexibility exercises, aerobic and endurance exercises, and strength and resistance exercises.

Stretching and flexibility exercises help muscles to warm up and cool down gradually, and improve flexibility, which prevents injury as well as reduces soreness and stiffness (tight spots). Aerobic and endurance exercises increase the body's ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells. This will generally increase the body's ability to exercise and carry out day-to-day activities without feeling too tired.

While strength and resistance exercises build muscle and bone mass, which helps to improve balance and reduce falling and broken bones. Strengthening the muscles can also help to reduce weakness in the limbs.

Overall, paying attention to my suggestions to prevent injury, you should start your exercise programme as soon as possible.

Good luck!

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to richardsai@jamaicaobserver.com.

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