It’s simple: the more physical activity you do, the more your health benefits increase.
According to CDC recommendations, adults 65 and older need at least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking; o 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity, such as walking, jogging, or running. Between them, 2 days should be incorporated into routines aimed at strengthening the muscles.
Even if chronic conditions impair their ability to meet those recommendations, older adults should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.
For its part, Harvard University maintains that in the elderly “the training that strengthen the core, that is, the muscles of the abdomen, back, pelvis and buttocks”, which are essential to support the body and facilitate balance and stability when performing any movement.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization lists some benefits of physical activity in the elderly. Among them we can highlight that:
– Reduce the risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases
– Improves the health of patients with hypertension
– Reduces the risk of cancer
– Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
– Prevents falls
– Improves mental health, reducing episodes of anxiety and depression
– Improves cognitive health and sleep
– Avoid overweight and obesity
If the older adult does not have any medical contraindication, specialists usually recommend muscle contraction and relaxation exercises. This is due to the body’s oxygen consumption while they are performed (called aerobic exercises).
Among the most common, it is advisable to walk vigorously, swim or ride a bicycle. However, the person must be aware of their limitations. For example, these types of activities are not recommended for those with cardiorespiratory problems.
On the other hand, to strengthen the muscles, anaerobic exercises with lower oxygen expenditure are recommended. Some of these exercises are: keeping the arms close to the trunk and exhaling while raising the arms to shoulder height, raising one arm and bending it, then extending it and returning to the original position, among others.
Other modalities are balance exercises. They help improve coordination and considerably reduce falls in the elderly. These can be heel-locking walks or lifting one foot to drop your body weight onto the other.
Some care centers also recommend flexibility or stretching exercises. They improve joints and muscle elongation. We could mention flexions, extensions and inclinations.
It is necessary to underline the need to leave the home and look for recreation areas. Just leaving the house can clear your mind, promote the creation of vitamin D, reduce anxiety and make it easier to socialize.
Although not considered physical, the CDC, WHO, and other professional organizations emphasize the urgency of exercising mental health. These intellectual routines are key to the self-esteem and humor of older people. To this end, habits such as reading, studying, mental or board games, doing sudoku and crossword puzzles, drawing, etc. are identified.
In any of the cases, the person already immersed in the third age should consult with their doctor to define what the impediments could be and what the recommendations. As for the family, it should be a participant and an accomplice in the activities to provide favorable spaces. Getting old is an art, feeling accompanied in the process is an added value to reach the top of that mountain and, in a gratifying way, be ecstatic with the views.