Maintaining our fitness as we get older is challenging but important. We may not have the energy we used to have, but we need to keep our bones and muscles strong. Retirement can sometimes allow us the time to finally follow and stick with a fitness regimen and get in shape.
Physical activity, exercise, and adjusting our diets as you get older can assist you in your goal of staying healthy. Anti-aging products are only skin-deep, and they will not stop things like loss of muscle and strength (sarcopenia), or your cardio endurance rates.
Flexibility is another part of your body that will change – as age settles in, without you putting in the effort to remain healthy and fit, your joints will change and can become extremely stiff.
Every year, hospitals see thousands of elderly patients with injuries that they obtained from falling. This is due to the change in their range of motion and their dwindling balance. An older person’s center of gravity will be in a different place than where it was when they were younger; typically, because their bodies have started to force them to hunch over, which pulls them forwards.
According to studies that have been highlighted by the Royal College of Nursing, 30% of people aged 65 and over will fall at least once a year, and for those who are aged 80 and over, that percentage rises to 50%. (NICE, 2013)
Watch Your Diet
It might sound obvious, but following a balanced diet is critical to energy, good health, and keeping illness at bay. The ideal diet should include lean meat, oily fish, whole grains, low-fat dairy in small amounts, lots of fruit and vegetables, and low in saturated fat.
It is also important to take plenty of water to avoid dehydration that makes you feel confused and tired.
Fruit juice, coffee, and tea can also help you stay properly hydrated, but you need to stay away from sugary fizzy drinks.
If you take alcohol, ensure that you stay away from it at least two days every week to give the liver enough time to recover from alcohol toxic effects and avoid exceeding the recommended daily alcohol intake quantities.
Related Reading: How to Become Fit After 50
Take Proper Care of Your Teeth
Brush teeth two times a day and floss every day. Flossing helps prevent gum disease by removing plaque and pieces of food between teeth.
If plaque is allowed to build up, you might start suffering from bleeding gums and gum disease has also been to stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease.
Go for check-ups regularly and if you have a bridge or wear dentures, ask the dentist to ensure that they fit properly.
How to Take Care of Your Dentures
There are many simple ways that you can take better care of your dentures to ensure better oral health. Oral-health specialists such as the people at Kennedy Square Dental can provide specific information to improve how you take care of your dentures. Check out these simple and helpful tips:
Use Them Carefully
When you get your dentures, use them with very carefully. In starting you may have problem with them like while carrying them since people do not get used to them very quickly. It takes a lot of time to get adjusted and used to with dentures as they are manual take and wear tooth set.
So, use them carefully and give them rest in the night time.
Clean Your Dentures Each Day
According to dentists, it is very important to clean your dentures daily. Regular cleaning is very important, and if not, the dentures may get damaged. The dentures may also form bacteria if not cleaned properly in regular days.
So, as you used to clean your natural teeth, do the same with the dentures.
The dentures will also have the separate cleaning provisions and liquids. So, it is better to have the best things for your dentures.
Wash Your Mouth After Taking Out Your Dentures
Sometimes people think that when we are using dentures then it is not necessary to take care of gums, but you are wrong in this case. Even if you are using the dentures, you should take care of the gums and mouth.
Rinse your mouth with warm water daily after taking dentures. Keep the dentures clean and so as your mouth too.
See Also: How to Strengthen Your Teeth
Make the Most of Your Doctor
It is advisable to go to your doctor for routine testing so that your cholesterol and blood pressure levels are checked. High blood pressure and cholesterol levels increase your risk factor for heart disease and stroke but it is possible to reverse any problems using medication.
While you are there, you should consider asking your GP about the seasonal flu jab. It is free for people aged 65 and above, or if you are suffering from a health condition which puts you at risk of more serious problems if you have the flu.
Get a Vitamin D Boost
People suffering from Vitamin D deficiency often don’t know it. It is actually estimated that it affects 50 percent of adults. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with bone problems, cognitive impairment, and even cardiovascular disease.
Try to get outside in the sun for between 15 and 20 minutes every day for your Vitamin D boost. Vitamin D is also found in food sources such as oily fish and eggs.
Alternatively, you can talk to your doctor about Vitamin D supplementation.
See Also: Vitamin D Foods
Proper Feet Care
Apply moisture to your feet to prevent dry skin and cut your toenails straight across. Ensure that you have properly fitting footwear that supports your feet.
If your feet are sore, it can be tempting to wear slippers, but a better option would be to wear a pair of trainers since they are more supportive.
If your feet feel very cold or hot, become painful, or if you experience problems such as ingrown toenails, bunions, or corns, ensure that you get in touch with your doctor.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Many people often have trouble either getting or staying asleep as they grow older. Consequently, lack of sleep often leaves you feeling grumpy and tired. Improving your sleep cycle is vital to having a proper sleep each night.
Try taking a warm drink such as hot milk or chamomile tea before going to bed.
Learn More: Why Can’t I Sleep?
How Stay Active As a Senior
Regular exercise helps you stay healthy and strong. This helps lower your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. Staying active also helps boost your self-esteem, gives you more energy, and helps improve sleep quality.
The recommendation according to government guidelines is that older adults require at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week and strengthening workouts twice weekly.
If this sounds like a lot, you can start small and work up to those amounts as you grow stronger. Home health can help you stay active and make the most of your life, allowing you to get out and about and keep on the move.
Join a Gym that Offers Classes for Seniors
Many fitness facilities these days have classes specifically designed for older adults.
These programs have become very popular with insurance companies who offer Medicare plans that include programs like Silver Sneaker or Silver and Fit. These programs offer classes with music you like and instructors who will motivate and encourage you.
You can follow classic workouts or try Cardiofit or circuit training.
It’s a good idea to attend several classes to see which ones fit you best. The best classes are the ones that you will continue attending because you enjoy them.
Try a Yoga Session
If you’ve never tried yoga before, you should sign up for a few beginner classes. Yoga sessions are typically less strenuous than running or cardio classes. Instructors will give modifications for you if there are any moves that you are not ready for.
One of the reasons yoga is so good for older adults is that it promotes balance.
As we age, the muscles in our legs that support balance weaken. Yoga is a great way to counterbalance this aging process and prevent falls.
Many gyms have beginner yoga classes with instructors who teach basic moves, so that’s a great place to start. Pick up an inexpensive yoga mat at your local fitness apparel store.
You can also consider buying yoga blocks that will help you on moves in the beginning while you are still gaining flexibility.
Hire a Trainer for a Couple of Sessions
Sometimes when people first join a gym, they at first feel hesitant or afraid of injury. They are not familiar with all of the equipment in the gym and may not want to seem in experienced in front of other gym members.
Hiring a personal trainer for a couple of sessions to show you the equipment is a great idea.
The trainer can also do an initial assessment of your body mass index and help you set some goals for your fitness program.
Invite a Friend
It’s been proven many times that people who work out with other people tend to stay in their fitness programs longer. It’s more fun to pursue fitness goals with a friend who can encourage and motivate you.
You can set goals together as well, such as walking 1 mile on the track or treadmill. Having someone to chat with makes these fitness sessions fly by.
If you sign up for classes together, both of you are more likely to show up because you are both counting on each other. Also, many gyms with classes for seniors have social activities too.
Attending these activities is good for mental and emotional health. Having a friend to show up with is less intimidating if you are new to the gym and don’t know many other people there.
The Need for Balance While Aging
Anyone who has ever had a fall, and has either broken something or bruised themselves badly, knows how painful it can be, and how much of a knock-on effect it can have on their ability to do day-to-day tasks.
The fear of having a fall or of tripping over something is one that is perhaps more common with seniors, and is borne out by the sheer number of emergency hospital admissions every year.
It highlights a really important part of any fitness program, the need to have some element of it that specifically focuses on the issue of balance.
This is not to say the people automatically lose their sense of balance as they grow older, but inevitably the effects of ageing mean that people are more vulnerable, and the physical sense of feeling balanced and coordinated takes on a special meaning and importance.
Many seniors will either live on their own or need a degree of help in maintaining an independent lifestyle.
Adaptability While Ageing
Many fitness instructors and fitness programs will have specific exercises that focus exclusively on balance, in the same way that they will have exercises that are designed for strength training. There are numerous exercises that people can do, depending on their circumstances and general level of mobility and fitness.
The great thing about very simple balancing exercises is that they can be done using normal household objects such as chairs and tables as props, meaning that the person feels safe and secure when doing the exercise.
Activities for seniors need to be adaptable, depending on their individual circumstances. Some people will want to use a personal trainer of some sort to learn the exercises, other people will be happy to learn them on their own.
Balance and Flow
Balancing exercises can be done as simple stand-alone activities, or done as part of a more specific fitness program that can include strength training exercises, or can be done in the context of other types of exercise such as Yoga or Pilates.
Tai Chi is often specifically recommended as a form of exercise because of how it helps to promote balance in the body. Tai Chi has many forms and again can be practiced either in a class with other people, or learned at home using a DVD or online video.
The movements in Tai Chi are very gentle, very easy to learn and go through a number of stages to help coordinate all areas of body and mind, which result in an overall sense of integration and balance, which can be incredibly powerful.
Yoga and pilates are excellent for gentle stretching and strengthening of your body.
If you are looking to tone your body at old age, yoga and pilates are two of the best forms of exercise to lose arm fat without injuring yourself.
Related Reading: Pilates Reformer Exercises Benefits
Make Exercise Fun
Many balancing exercises can be quite repetitive, and finding the motivation to do them regularly can often be quite tricky. Having a personal trainer can help this focus, but there are other ways as well. Doing any type of balancing exercise within a group or with other people can also help generate motivation or commitment to keep doing them.
Another very popular way is to include children or ideally grandchildren in the exercises and turn it into a game.
Children learn things by repetition and this can be very beneficial for them as well.
This is also very powerful from a bonding point of view, which increases the sense of commitment by the senior, and often leads to other games and activities which can have a similar effect.
Kids love to play and often see doing these exercises as a way of playing with their parent or grandparent.
Strength Training for Seniors
Strength and balance training such as deadlifts and squats are an integral part of preventing these injuries by helping older people understanding how their body works and how to adjust their aging body to better work for them.
“Balance impairment and muscle weakness caused by aging and lack of use and the most prevalent modifiable risk factors for falls. Strength and balance training have been identified as an effective single intervention and as a component in successful multifactorial intervention programs to reduce subsequent falls.” (NICE, 2017)
No matter how old you are, there are systems and programs in place to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Step one is always an assessment by a professional – check with your doctor, and then talk to local gyms who offer personal training or similar programs.
Why Strength Training is Good for Aging People
- It helps to combat the symptoms of osteoarthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, back pain, and so on.
- Easy weight management.
- It improves body balance.
- It helps to beat insomnia.
- It helps to improve glucose control.
- It increases metabolism.
- It keeps the person fit with growing age.
What Kind of Strength is Desirable for Aging People?
It is a myth that old and aging people shouldn’t lift heavy weights. Let’s see why it is beneficial to lift weights. A recent study has shown that weightlifting has a good impact on the body and is good for maintaining a healthy heart. This study was published by the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
It said that if you lift a weight for a week, for less than an hour daily, you might reduce the risk of a heart attack. And this is a piece of great news for the people dealing with heart issues.
Strength training for aging people is beneficial beyond health benefits.
Resistance exercise assures excellent bone health and proper physical functions. It assures a better and longer quality life. Strength training also boosts the emotional and mental strength of aging people. It gives them a sense of independence even with their growing age.
What Should Be In Your Exercise Routine?
- Some exercises that will make the core muscles work. This should include the chest, back, shoulders, biceps, legs, and core.
- Keep alternate days to work on the major muscle areas. Allow the muscles to rest and recover.
- The weight being used should be enough.
One of the most exciting parts of strength training is that you can do it with or without weights.
Related Reading: How to Lose Weight After 50
Cardio Exercises for Seniors
Exercise can improve your quality of life, and you won’t even need to spend long doing in to feel the improvements and benefits.
Even just engaging in a bit of cardio alongside your strength and balance training could make the world of difference to you.
Cardio has many benefits for seniors. It can help prevent osteoporosis, which is caused by low bone density (a common condition in the elderly). Cardio improves blood circulation, muscle strength, and can even improve bone density; making it a great solution if you’re looking for a way to prevent possible osteoporosis.
But that’s not all! Cardio can also help to elevate your mood and reduce anxiety and depression. This is because exercising helps release hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone – all of which help your body and mind balance out in different ways.
According to a Harvard University study highlighted in Psychology Today, someone who exercises regularly will feel an increase in psychological well-being. In their 11-year study, they hypothesized that the adults over 50 that were physically active at the start of their study, and remained active throughout it, showed psychological well-being; meaning that they were happier, showed positive emotions, and were optimistic. (PSYCOLOGY TODAY, 2016)
See Also: Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss
Motivation to Exercise as a Senior
Anyone who has specific mobility or disability issues obviously has to take great care before undertaking any type of exercise regime.
At the same time, often the motivation to do some type of physical exercise is greater in someone who has limited mobility for the simple reason that they know what a huge difference it can make.
The old saying about healthy body, healthy mind is probably true in a general sense for people of most ages, but for people who are seniors and who struggle with their health in any way, the need to improve their level of fitness and balance can often take on a greater sense of urgency, as it has a knock on effect on their emotional and mental well-being.
For more motivation, you can check out Ieda Jónasdóttir Herman, an author and motivational speaker who was based out of Illinois. At the age of 88, she wrote and published her first book, a memoir of growing up in Iceland. She then published two fiction works for children.
Following a stroke in 2016, she had dedicated her time to education of stroke awareness and encouraging seniors to become more active in life.
Visit her site for photos, contact, and social media links: Viking Amma