Fitness for Seniors

Fitness for Seniors

Fitness for Seniors

Swimming, dancing, jogging and yoga are some exercises that seniors can participate in to get maximum health benefits. Protecting bones from injuries is highly important, so, learning which exercises are best for your needs is essential. If new to fitness, check with your doctor first to see if you are ready to begin a new fitness routine. 

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    Older adults experience physiological changes and degeneration with age. A well-designed resistance training program can slow the changes and improve muscle strength, fiber recruitment, muscle size, and overall functional capacity. When performing starting an exercise program, you should follow some general guidelines: 
    • Wear appropriate attire when using selectorized equipment.
    • Do not start joint movement at angles that are beyond normal ROM when using selectorized equipment. 
    • Encourage deliberate breathing to avoid rapid increases in blood pressure.
    • Perform short, initial sets of exercise with little to no weight.
    • Perform exercises with proper technique and avoid compensation of other body parts.
    • Perform 1-3 sets of 8-20 repetitions, 3-5 days per week.
    • Begin strength training by performing exercises with lower weight and higher reps and slowly progressing to higher intensity exercise.
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    A Family Medicine, answered on behalf of
    One of the top myths in health care is that older adults in their retirement years cannot benefit from regular exercise. Well, this myth is busted.

    Aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises, or some kind of regular physical activity, can improve the quality of life for adults at any age. And, if you are in your 60s, 70s, 80s or older, and you get a doctor’s go-ahead, there are many benefits to regular exercise. For example, it can help you prevent or manage chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and even painful arthritis.

    Some people who are older or obese are less likely to start exercising. That’s mostly because they’ve grown accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle. But it’s never too late to start exercising. Regular exercise can help slow down cognitive decline as we age. Physical activity also can help sharpen the mind.
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    A , Orthopedic Surgery, answered
    For aging athletes and adult onset exercisers, the main problems reported are acute muscle strains and chronic tendonitis. The junction between the tendon and the muscle is especially vulnerable since the structure of the muscle is less "stretchy" in this area than in the middle of the muscle. In addition, when muscles are fatigued, they lose their ability to absorb energy and are less coordinated. This makes them susceptible to injury during so-called eccentric movement. ("Eccentric" means that the muscle is contracting as it is lengthening. This predisposes it to injury.)
    Too much, too soon, too often, and with too little rest -- these terrible toos predispose us to overuse injuries. Unfortunately, these problems are common in older athletes and often result from a condition called tendonosis. While tendonitis is the acute inflammation of the tendon, tendonosis is the longer term, cumulative effect of repetitive microtrauma to the tendon that does not properly heal.
    The Achilles tendon, patellar tendon, rotator cuff tendons, medial epicondylitis (inside elbow), lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), and wrist tendons are all more vulnerable with aging.
    As we age, our cells and tissues have less regenerative capacity than when we were younger. This leads to less durability of our muscles and tendons. Our musculoskeletal tissues also have a lower healing capacity, so it takes longer to recover between intense workouts. When not rehabilitated correctly, these overuse injuries can linger on and on, resulting in literally years of lost activity.

    Fitness After 40: How to Stay Strong at Any Age
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    Prior to exercise you should always try and meet with a professional.  This individual might be your primary physician or it may be a trainer at the fitness center in which you belong.  Regardless, meeting with someone will help guide you in the proper forms of exercise in which to get started with or continue doing.

    As for seniors, much will depend on their fitness level.  Are you just starting or has exercise been a part of your daily life for years?  If you are just starting then basic core and balance training will be best.  This will help build a strong foundation and assist you to increase your balance and bone density.  If you have been active then stick with it!  Keep going and do what you feel you are capable of doing.  Again, meet with a professional first, they should be able to assist you.

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    A answered
    If you're middle-aged, how strenuously you can exercise should begin with using activity as a way to build and support your body -- not punish it.

    Consider your current physical condition and adjust your effort accordingly. Older women and heavier women may have already developed some degenerative changes in their weight-bearing joints, making them more susceptible to injuries. Most people over 40 have some deterioration of the cartilage (joint-covering tissue that provides shock absorption and helps bones move) in their knees. Which can cause the cartilage to tear more easily.

    Set realistic goals for your physical activities to achieve a balance between promoting good health and limiting injuries. Doing too much, too fast, without building up the strength and endurance you need is one of the biggest mistakes many women make. When you are starting a new exercise program that is unfamiliar to you, find a trainer or instructor to work with you. That will ensure you understand proper form and progression of the exercise.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Why is it important to replace muscle mass as we age?
    It's important to replace muscle mass as we age, because it's key for overall strength, balance, vitality, and quality of life. Watch me explain how strong muscles keep you healthier as you get older.
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    A , Fitness, answered
    Resistance training is important at any age.  Not only has it been shown to slow and even reverse the effects of bone loss, it promotes better balance, increased energy, and overall improved health.  Just as with any age group, it is important to check with your doctor before starting a new form of exercise and choose a program based on your current fitness levels. This will help you to reach your goals in a safe and effective manner.  I love to seeing clients in their 60's and 70's in my classes, working alongside women less then half their age. Very inspiring!
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    A , Preventive Medicine, answered
    Swimming is an easy exercise to begin at any age. It is especially good for anyone who has injuries, diseases, or conditions that prohibit them from doing regular aerobic exercise. There are incredible benefits to swimming. A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that water exercise improved elderly participant's health. Women from the ages of 60 to 75 years old participated in swimming and water exercise for 12 weeks. The study showed these women had increased muscle strength, greater flexibility, loss of body fat, and increased agility compared to the women who did not participate
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    A , Geriatric Medicine, answered
    Improving muscle mass and working on body definition and tone usually involves some resistance or lifting heavier weights. Although some people use weights they can lift a maximum of 10 times, older adults should use a weight that can be lifted 10-20 times, with caution about maintaining form and avoiding strain that can lead to imbalance or instability. You will get far better results by maintaining good posture and overall form than if you use a particular amount of weight or number of repetitions as a target.

    Good posture refers to keeping your back straight and shoulders back. Focus on the targeted muscle groups. If your back starts to get out of alignment, or you start to sway or jerk to move the weight, then you've reached your maximum and you should end that set. Not only will your strength and muscle mass improve more rapidly by maintaining good form and posture, but you will minimize your risk of injury as well.

    These types of exercises usually involve free weights or exercise equipment for resistance training. The specific exercises you select will depend on the area(s) you most want to emphasize. For example, if your goal is better shoulder definition, you might focus on military presses, bench presses, or calisthenics such as push-ups.
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    A , Podiatric Medicine, answered
    It's wise to wear comfortable supportive shoes, shoe inserts, or both when you plan to increase your activity level (for example, in exercises such as walking, running, or tennis). It may also be time to consider alternative forms of exercise, such as swimming or bicycling, which put less pressure on the joints of the foot. Maintaining some form of exercise routine is vital to help offset problems later.