Since age carries with it a lot of natural changes to the body, including
loss of muscle, bone density and impaired motor function, it’s imperative
you have the resources and assistance you need to avoid any potential
health incidents or injuries. Each year, 3 million adults are treated
in emergency departments for conditions resulting from a fall (with one
in four adults 65 and older falling each year). Over 800,000 patients
per year are hospitalized because of fall injuries, with the majority
of those being head injuries.
Exercise provides a number of benefits that help regain some of that lost
mobility later in life. It improves cardiovascular performance, which
in turn increases endurance as well as overall energy/mood. Working the
body is one of the best ways to help
prevent falls. Simple exercises like walking, stretching or Pilates can help strengthen
muscles, improve flexibility and increase balance, further helping to
prevent any life-threatening injuries. Balance-focused and aerobic exercises
are among the best ways to help seniors naturally improve their bodies
and in some cases, reverse certain health conditions associated with age
– and certainly aid in living a more comfortable, happy life.
Staying mobile and active are also important elements when trying to improve
daily lifestyle habits, especially doing so in groups. Physical therapist
Kristen Wilson advises to “utilize more of a group atmosphere when
it comes to fitness (group classes, fitness buddy, personal training).
It improves mood by enhancing opportunities for socialization.”
This way, you can with others who share similar experiences and who may
have the same health conditions, and they also can help keep you accountable.
If you identify as a mature adult, making an actionable plan is the next
step you should take when you are looking to continue being active. Most
importantly, discuss with your doctor how you’d like to improve your
fitness as an older adult, what concerns you’d like to focus on (muscles, energy, flexibility,
etc.), and make sure you are cleared to do so. Be sensitive to what your
body has been through already and understand that physical activity will
help, but it often takes weeks or even months to see results and improvements.
Creating the right schedule will also help in sticking to a routine. Pick
specific days you’d like to workout. Mornings provide lots of sunlight
and cooler temperatures, while afternoons are slightly warmer and busier.
Choose a time where you feel you’re best and most motivated. Don’t
forget to listen to your body. If you’re tired or sore for any reason,
take it easy that day, do a different exercise, or just start again the
next day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended
at least 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise for older
adults, as well as some strength training exercises on two or more days a week.
As we reach our golden years, it can feel very lonely – children
move away and relatives and friends pass away. Having someone with you
to help with workouts or just cheer you along can be vital to keeping
your fitness journey going in the positive direction. Additionally, having
someone around in case of a fall or any other accident while exercising
is also important. Finding a personal trainer who understands your past
and current physical health could be another smart way to really make
yourself more comfortable in the fitness space again. An expert opinion
can reduce the chances of any more falls or injuries to the body as well
as educate you on your own body. Stick with friends and other support
groups that motivate you to keep your health in the forefront of your
mind so you’re able to live a long and happy life.