Carol Calling: Welcome to our May/June 2012 Newsletter. I feel as if I just wrote the 2011 summer newsletter. I want to talk a bit about the benefits of exercise for people at any age!! Older people have so much to gain from exercise and from staying physically active. We also have much to lose if we become physically inactive. Research has found that exercise and physical activity can improve the health of people who are young AND of people who are 90 years and older, or are frail or have diseases that might accompany aging.
Fact: more than 2/3rds of older adults don’t engage in regular physical activity. There are four types of exercises to help older adults gain health benefits:
Endurance exercises- these increase your breathing and heart rate. They improve the health of your heart, lungs and circulatory system.
Strength exercises- build your muscles, increase your metabolism, help keep weight and blood sugar in check and may help prevent osteoporosis.
Balance exercises- help prevent a common problem in young and old alike: falls.
Flexibility exercises also play a role in preventing falls. These exercises also help keep your body limber.
Some people are reluctant to start exercising because they are afraid it will be too strenuous. Research has found that you don’t have to do strenuous exercise to gain health benefits- light and moderate exercises have superior benefits, so think about starting one or two simple movements and build from there-this is not a competition – this is a personal self commitment.
Here are sample movements for each type of exercise. These are basic/easy level movements to help you begin your program. If you do these on a regular basis, you will see improvement. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE DOING ANY KIND OF EXERCISE especially if you have a chronic health disease. NEVER MAKE THIS DECISION ON YOUR OWN!
Endurance exercise: Swim, cycle, garden, walk briskly on level surface.
Strength exercise: 1. Stand holding onto a table or chair for balance, slowly bend your knee as far as possible- hold 1 second and lower. Switch legs. 2. Sit in chair, slowly extend and lift one leg in front as straight as possible- hold 1 second and lower. Switch legs.
Balance exercise: any of the strength exercises double as balance exercises. Also try walking heel to toe—place one heel in front of toe on opposite foot with each step. Walk forward 10-15 steps.
Flexibility exercises: Place hands in praying position , slowly raise elbows so arms are parallel to floor- hold 10 to 30 seconds and repeat 3 to 5 times.
Sit in chair with legs extended in front of you. Bend ankles to point feet toward you, then bend ankles to point feet away from you. Hold each position for one second. Repeat 3 to 5 times. Try these for starters.
More to come mid-summer.