By Gurleen Khaira
As we get older, more and more people struggle to keep fit which contributes to the stigma that only young, gym-fanatics can keep healthy through exercise. However, there are plenty of ways for those over 60 to exercise, and it is vital that they do. Due to this, we here at MindMate created a seniors’ guide to exercise: you will find out why exercise is important for seniors, the types of exercises there are, and some easy exercises you can do.
Why is exercise important for seniors? 1. Helps with back pain Back pain is a common consequence of aging. As you get older, your joints often start aching. This is usually due to the loss of moisture between the discs and joints,which makes them less effective at withstanding shock and pressure. However, exercise can help with this. In fact, spine specialists say ‘motion is lotion’ for joints, meaning doing exercise can improve the moisture between your joints and ultimately improve your back pain.
2. Helps with Osteoporosis Osteoporosis is the name given to the condition where the bones become weaker, and therefore break more easily. The condition is commonly endured by those over 50. Exercise can be used to combat the condition as it aids to build up your bones and make them more resilient to small injuries. 3. Reduces risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s There are numerous studies which have found a correlation between exercising more and having a lower risk of dementia. In your earlier years, completing 150 minutes of exercise a week can reduce your chances of dementia. But even in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, exercise can help to enhance cognitive functions like judgement, reasoning, and memory. In this sense, exercise acts as a memory trainer as well as a body trainer!
4. Better heart health It is no secret that exercise helps to keep your heart healthy by building up the cardiac muscle and allowing for better blood circulation. What is even more encouraging to see is that exercise can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults and older adults by 35%.
Types of Exercise
Balance- exercises in this category improve your stability and posture.
Cardio- these exercises really get you moving and aim to get your blood pumping around your body. They help decrease fatigue and can help you improve your ability to carry out daily tasks like walking and cleaning without feeling very tired.
Strength training- these exercises aim to build up your bones and muscles, which helps to make your bones resilient.
Flexibility- these exercises reduce stiffness, allowing your body to move more freely.
Exercises for Seniors
This gets your muscles moving and allows more blood to be pumped around your body. Walking is a good way to start your exercise as it isn't too strenuous but gets your body used to some movement.
2. Swimming For those with arthritis or Osteoporosis, swimming can prove to be beneficial since it does not put too much pressure on your muscles/bones. It can also help you build up strength since you are under water, which means your body faces more resistance. 3. Tai Chi This exercise focuses on your balance and flexibility. It’s low intensity can make it easier for beginners to try, and even better, the martial art is said to help with relaxation and focus. 4. Yoga Yoga combines stretching and muscle strengthening, whilst also helping with balance and flexibility. It’s a great way to get your muscles moving without too much strenuous activity.
How can MindMate help? The MindMate app offers bespoke exercise tutorials for seniors. Combined with our brain games and healthy recipes, the app is your one stop for better brain health and physical health!