It used to be that exercise was strictly for the young - forty years ago, the idea of someone over sixty doing a marathon would not just have been laughable, it would have been considered downright dangerous. Now we see seniors in their 80s completing not only marathons, but even long distance triathlons.
Seniors are rapidly learning how important it is to take care of themselves, as they come to realize that besides good genetics, the one thing that makes a difference in quality of life is exercise. As we get older, there are changes our bodies under go which arent always visible but we can feel them:
- Strength: According to research, muscle mass declines about 4% each decade from age 25 to 50.
- Endurance: As we age, we lose aerobic fitness. This often contributes to reduced mobility in daily life.
- Flexibility: Joints change with age, leading to stiffness, decreased range of motion and injuries.
- Balance: Each year, hospitals see thousands of seniors for broken hips due to falling.
The good news is that these losses aren't inevitable. Many of the symptoms we attribute to aging, are simply because people become less active. This leads eventually to loss of independence.
No matter how old you are, exercise can improve your quality of life. It need not involve a lot of time, and you will see benefits quite quickly. Like everyone else, a combination of cardio, strength training and flexibility exercises will allow you to stay healthy, and maintain as much strength and independence as possible.
Before you start, you must be checked out by your doctor. If you have any conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis
, high blood pressure or heart disease, you'll have to find out which exercises will help you, and which to avoid. The best way to do this is to work with a personal trainer . They will design a programme that takes into account your age, fitness level, medical history and goals.