• Brookside

EXERCISE FOR THE ELDERLY

Exercise for the elderly is important for a variety of reasons. It can help to improve overall fitness levels, maintain muscle mass and bone density, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. Exercise can also help to improve mental health by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.


Elderly people who exercise regularly often report feeling more energetic and independent. There are many different types of exercise that can be beneficial for the elderly population, including walking, swimming, Tai Chi, yoga or even armchair exercises. It is important to consult with a doctor before starting any new exercise program.


The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that, where possible, older adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. They also recommend that adults do strength training exercises at least two days per week. Older adults should talk to their doctor before starting any new exercise program to make sure it is safe and appropriate for them.


There are many different types of exercise programs available for older adults, so there is sure to be one that is a good fit. In this article, we will take a look at some activities that are great for elderly people and the benefits that they can bring.


YOGA

Yoga for the elderly

Yoga is a system of physical and mental practices originating in ancient India that is practiced for health and relaxation purposes. The main components of yoga are postures (or asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and meditation. The adaptable nature of yoga means that it can comfortably and safely be practiced well into our advanced years.


Yoga has many benefits for both the body and mind. Physical benefits include improved flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance, as well as increased circulation and reduced stress levels. Mental benefits include improved concentration, decreased anxiety and depression, and enhanced self-awareness. All of these are relevant to elderly people.


There are many different types of yoga, each with its own focus and style. Some of the most popular types include Hatha yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Bikram yoga, Kundalini yoga, and Iyengar yoga. Hatha yoga can be considered the gentlest form of yoga and therefore probably the best style for care home residents and elderly people in general.


Anyone can practice yoga, regardless of age, size, or fitness level. It is important to choose a yoga class that is appropriate for skill level. Beginner yoga classes will typically move at a slower pace and focus on basic yoga poses, while more advanced classes will move more quickly and include more challenging poses.


A summary of some of the benefits of yoga for the elderly are:

· Improved sleep

· Reduces stress

· Improves mental health

· Reduces symptoms of depression

· Strengthens bones/ delay the onset of osteoporosis

· Reduce general aches and pains

· Improved balance, flexibility, strength etc


TAI CHI

Tai chi for the elderly

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that is known for its slow, graceful movements. Tai chi is often practiced as a form of meditation, and is said to improve balance, flexibility, and overall health. Tai chi is sometimes referred to as “meditation in motion.”


While tai chi’s origins are uncertain, it is thought to have evolved from a combination of martial arts and traditional Chinese medicine. Practitioners of tai chi can often be seen practicing outdoors in parks or open spaces. It is often performed early in the morning, when there is fresh air and cooler temperatures.


There are many different styles of tai chi, but all involve slow, deliberate movements that are flowing and graceful. The movements are often described as “waves” of energy moving through the body. Tai chi is a low-impact exercise, which means it is easy on the joints and muscles and therefore perfect for the elderly and those with limited movement.


A summary of some of the benefits of tai chi for the elderly are:

· Improved balance and circulation

· Reduced stress levels

· Improve circulation

· Increased strength and flexibility

· Meditative benefits – a calmer, more focused mind


WALKING

Walking is a great activity for the elderly for many reasons.

· Walking is low-impact, so it's easy on the joints

· Benefits are compounded as it is also a great way to get some exercise and fresh air.

· Walking can be a good way to meet new people and socialize, which can be important for elderly people who may be living alone.

· And finally, walking is free! You don't need any special equipment or membership fees. Just put on your shoes and go.

There are a few things to keep in mind when walking as an elderly person.

· First, start slowly and build up your fitness levels gradually. If you start walking too quickly or for too long, you may become fatigued or develop injuries.

· It's also important to wear supportive shoes, and to walk on surfaces that are not too uneven or slippery.

· Finally, make sure to stay hydrated by carrying a water bottle with you on your walks.


ARMCHAIR EXERCISES

Looking for some armchair exercises to help keep you fit and healthy as you get older? Armchair exercises are ideal for a low impact, low cost, convenient way to stay in shape.


Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:

· Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. From here, you can perform some light arm and leg raises to work on your range of motion.

· For a little more intensity, try placing your hands on your chair arms and raise up onto their toes, holding for a few seconds before lowering back down. This is a great way to work on balance and coordination.

· Another option is to do some light weightlifting with canned goods or water bottles. Start with just a few repetitions and gradually increase the amount as you get stronger.


These are just a few ideas to get you started – be creative and have fun with it! Remember, the goal is to keep active and healthy, so do what works best for you.

At Brookside, we regular engage our residents with armchair exercises due to their accessibility. Residents can join in as they wish with little disruption to their day (they do not need to get changed or go anywhere to take part. It can be done right at home the lounge) and can push themselves as little or as much as they feel comfortable.


Our ethos is very much to encourage our residents to achieve as much activity as possible to ensure that they remain as active and able as possible for as long as possible. We very much believe in the quote ‘a healthy body is a healthy mind’ and we will be introducing new ways to exercise at Brookside over the forthcoming months.


Watch this space...

 

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