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What Is The Best Exercise For Seniors | More Ability

20 March 2019

It is vital to know and practice the best exercises for seniors because as we age our lean body mass naturally decreases resulting in less tone and muscles that are unable to contract.

The most common conditions with old age are:

1) Decreasing balance

2) Problems with mobility

3) Lacking in upper body strength


However, through a consistent exercise program, these conditions can be improved, if not avoided.

Sarcopenia

As a result of the natural aging process, sarcopenia occurs. This is a condition affecting the skeletal muscle that causes them to wither and weaken. It usually appears at the age of 40 and accelerates quite aggressively past the age of 75.

A major cause of most mobility issues in the elderly, sarcopenia only highlights the importance of staying active and regularly exercising in our senior years.

In this article we aim to highlight what the best exercise is for seniors whilst also answering the following questions in an attempt to eliminate any misconceptions:

  • Is weightlifting good for seniors?
  • Can seniors build muscle?
  • How many days a week should seniors exercise?


What Is the Best Exercise for seniors?

With regards to understanding what the best exercise is for seniors there are four main types that should be considered:

  • Endurance Exercise
  • Strength Training Exercise
  • Exercise to Improve Flexibility
  • Exercise to Improve Balance

Endurance exercises for seniors

Endurance exercises are designed to increase you breathing and heart rate. Keeping your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy, endurance exercises for seniors can include a brisk walk, dancing or swimming.

Strength training exercises for seniors

Strength training exercises build muscle, which in our senior years can help counter the effects of muscle atrophy, a condition that results in muscle wastage due to lack of psychical activity.

In addition to this strength training exercises can also improve endurance, flexibility, balance, agility and hand eye coordination.


Exercises to improve flexibility and balance

Exercise that is designed to improve your flexibility and balance often includes stretching, toning and meditation classes like Yoga and Tai Chi.

Proven in practice these types of exercises improve balance, agility and flexibility by helping build muscle mass and improving quality of life.

Is Weight Training Good For Seniors?

Yes, weight training is good for seniors.

However if your joints are a cause for concern we would recommend weight assist machines rather than free weights. Helping with form, in order to prevent the likelihood of an injury, you should concentrate on low weight and low impact movements that focus on the arms, shoulders, back and legs.

If you’re new to the gym always consult a personal trainer and ask them to show you what to do and offer any advice. Tell that what you’re aim is and ask them to come up with a personal plan.


Can Seniors Build Muscles?

Yes, seniors can build muscle.

Resistance based weight training exercises or free weight strength training exercises, coupled with a healthy nutritional plan, can help seniors build muscle. However, the process may be slower.

Similar to the above, always consult a personal trainer. Not only will they be able to help you with your technique and routine they may also offer nutritional advice for maximum results.

How Many Days A Week Should Seniors Exercise?

This largely depends on:

1) What your current physical condition is

2) What your fitness goals are

The above will influence how many days a week you should exercise as a senior.

With that said however, on average, it is recommended that seniors age 65 and older get 2 hours of endurance exercise a week. 2 hours of strength training exercise a week, working balance and flexibility exercises into your routine on a daily basis.


Conclusion

The above article should highlight the importance of exercising and what the best exercises are for seniors.

Although we’re not in the health and fitness industry we do specialise in accessible bathroom and mobility bathroom design and are all too familiar with the importance of staying active, especially as we get older.

In our experience bathrooms are one of the highest risk areas in the home, usually starting with seniors struggling to get in or out of the bath. This is a direct result of no longer having the upper body strength required to pull yourself up and out of the water or no longer having the confidence in your balance to be able to step up and over the side of the bath.

In this instance we would always suggest you consider some bathroom alterations; usually in the form of a level access shower or a wet floor shower. However we appreciate that your bathroom safety can also be improved through a combination of regular exercises.

More Ability, part of the Passmore Group, is Yorkshires only 5* rated bathroom adaptation company. Specialising in accessible, mobility and disabled bathroom solutions we are extremely proud of the exceptional service we continuously deliver from design right through to installation and after care. Whether you want a future proofed solution or require a more specialist adaptation in order to remain independent at home More Ability can help create a safe space to bathe for you or your loved ones.

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