Exercise in the elderly is very conducive to maintaining good health and has many benefits for the body and mind. In this sense, from the age of 60, it is highly recommended to do some kind of activities that help keep us active on a regular basis.
In this way, we will be able to improve our physical and mental health, in addition to reducing the risk of developing diseases common in the elderly. In the next article, we will tell you what are the benefits of ending a sedentary lifestyle and what are the best exercises for people over 60 years of age.
Benefits Of Exercising After The Age Of 60
Although we should do physical exercise at all ages, a sedentary lifestyle has a rapid impact on the deterioration of health in people over the age of 60 and is one of the leading causes of premature death. For this reason, there is much evidence to suggest that active aging has a very positive effect on the quality of life, mood, self-esteem, health, and well-being of the elderly.
These are some of the benefits that can be seen in physically active older adults compared to those with a certain level of inactivity:
- Reduction in risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and stroke.
- Helps to maintain blood pressure at normal values and improve hypertension.
- Control of body fat percentage and increase in lean muscle mass (internal organs, muscles, and bones).
- Bone reinforcement prevents loss of bone density and slows the onset of diseases such as osteoporosis.
- Increase in muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. Exercise reduces the risk of common falls in the elderly and helps you maintain your independence longer.
- joint care. Stretching after exercise can prevent wear, inflammation, and loss of mobility due to joint degeneration.
- Release of hormones (endorphins) that improve mood. In addition, they help reduce the pain of aging and prevent mental problems such as depression.
Exercise Routines For People Over 60
Whatever your age, physical condition, and health status, there are a huge number of suggestions when it comes to physical activity. The World Health Organization (WHO) gives several recommendations on how to exercise in the elderly.
First, people over the age of 60 should do a total of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. However, taking into account each one’s ability and physical condition, it also gives the option of 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week or a combination of both. In addition, two or three times a week, activities that strengthen the musculoskeletal system and improve balance and flexibility should be added to this exercise routine.
But, before talking about the best exercise routine for seniors, you need to know the three parts into which every training session is divided: warm-up, main plank, and stretching.
Resistance Or Aerobic Exercise
Resistance exercises include all that elevate the heart and respiratory rate, especially those that serve to delay aging. Regarding these activities in the elderly, they are recommended to do 45 minutes on three alternate days a week or 20-30 minutes between 5 to 7 days a week.
Among the ideal aerobic activities for people over 60 we can find:
- walk at a steady, moderate pace on the level ground
- pedaling the elliptical or bicycle
Strength Or Anaerobic Exercise
Strength-focused exercises for people over age 60 help build muscle and strengthen bones. Specifically, it is recommended that these activities be limited to 2-3 times a week, dividing the exercise schedule into the upper body (back, shoulders, and chest), lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes ), and the “core” area (the muscles that surround our body’s center of gravity).
Additionally, both upper-body and lower-body exercises can be performed with cable machines. On the other hand, bodyweight exercises (push-ups, lunges, squats, etc.) are only recommended for people who have been exercising for some time, as they require more effort. Each exercise can be performed for between 15 and 20 repetitions.
Flexibility exercises help with muscle recovery and are characterized by low-intensity stretching activities so that pain is not felt. In this case, this training can be done three times a week for between 15 and 30 seconds and with normal breathing.
This group includes dance, tai chi, yoga, or exercises in water that don’t require much of a demand. If you have flexibility problems, it is recommended to use a towel or rope to assist you, but be careful not to forcefully or hyperextend or bounce.
Physical activities involving balance help improve coordination and are essential in all exercise routines for people over the age of 60.
Activities include such as:
- Lame leg: In this, one leg has to be raised by bending the knee. The exercise should be repeated three times with each leg, and you can lean on a chair or other support point to start. Then, you only have to use one finger to support yourself and finally, you’ll let go completely, setting the intensity of the exercise according to your abilities.
- Walking in a straight line: Stand and place one heel in front of the toes of the other foot. Continue taking each step in this manner, being careful not to lose your balance, until you reach 20 in a straight line.
- March with Elevation: This is the next step to the previous exercise, each step raising the knee or bringing the heel to the buttock. If you can do it without support, you can also raise your arms while walking.
- Going Backwards: Another option is to do the previous exercises backward.
- Lateral Raises: Stand again and lift one leg out to the side, hold for 10 seconds, then repeat on the other leg, up to 10 times each.
- Lateral displacement: We continue the march in a straight line, only this time with a lateral displacement. Being able to support ourselves from a point of support to avoid losing balance, we start with 10 normal steps on each side, then take steps standing on the toes, and finally with the heels.
- Crossing Legs: This exercise performs the previous point, but crossing the legs, placing the right foot in front of the left and following it back in the next step.
- Sitting and walking: We should, while sitting, raise the legs (at least 30 cm.) Simulating that we walk.
- Standing Raises Together: While sitting, we point one arm towards the ceiling and bend the opposite knee for 10 seconds. Repeat 20 times, alternating between each limb.
- Hand raising: We hold a light chair or a broom with one hand in front of our eyes for 10 seconds. Alternate between both arms up to 20 times.
Among other things, these activities allow you to acquire a certain skill set that provides safety while performing any day-to-day activity.
Tips To Consider
In short, ending a sedentary lifestyle would greatly benefit us both physically and emotionally. Therefore, here you have a series of tips to learn to take care of yourself in the present so that in the future we will not regret not doing more physical activity:
- It’s a good idea to start with light activity and gradually build up over time. To get started, one hour a week is enough.
- Choose activities that are fun and enjoyable, and start practicing them as if you were exercising for the first time. After a few months, we can gradually increase the intensity of the exercises.
- If you are not doing any physical activity, doing less than the recommended minimum will be more beneficial than doing nothing. The less time spent in a chair, lounger, or bed, the better.
- If you are disabled, you will need to adapt these recommendations based on your exercise capacity, which you can consult with your health center.
With regard to the last point, it is important to take our current situation into account when starting training and see what can and cannot be done. Diseases that should be taken into account, and for which exercise has been shown to help change the health of those suffering from them, are Alzheimer’s, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.