In previous posts we wrote about the value and benefits of exercise for seniors, looked at the myths associated with it, suggested ways to begin an exercise program and considered the difference between low and high impact exercise, suggesting that low-impact exercise is preferable for seniors. Exercising is a key ingredient in allowing people to Age in Place. In today’s Post I’d like to take a look at the different types of exercise and what benefits each confers.
There are four main types and each type is different. You can also look on these as building blocks of fitness for people over 50, for indeed they are. They will build your health, happiness and quality of life. Doing them all will give you more benefits.
The 1st building block of fitness over 50: Cardio endurance exercise
- What is it: Uses large muscle groups in rhythmic motions over a period of time. Cardio workouts get your heart pumping and you may even feel a little short of breath. Cardio includes walking, stair climbing, swimming, hiking, cycling, rowing, tennis, and dancing.
- Why it’s good for you: Helps lessen fatigue and shortness of breath. Promotes independence by improving endurance for daily activities such as walking, house cleaning, and errands.
The 2nd building block of fitness over 50: Strength and power training
- What is it: Strength training builds up muscle with repetitive motion using weight or external resistance from body weight, machines, free weights, or elastic bands. Power training is often strength training done at a faster speed to increase power and reaction times.
- Why it’s good for you: Strength training helps prevent loss of bone mass, builds muscle, and improves balance—both important in staying active and avoiding falls. Power training can improve your speed while crossing the street, for example, or prevent falls by enabling you to react quickly if you start to trip or lose balance. Building strength and power will help you stay independent and make day-to-day activities easier such as opening a jar, getting in and out of a car, and lifting objects.
The 3rd building block of fitness over 50: Flexibility
- What is it: Challenges the ability of your body’s joints to move freely through a full range of motion. This can be done through stationary stretches and stretches that involve movement to keep your muscles and joints supple so they are less prone to injury. Yoga is an excellent means of improving flexibility.
- Why it’s good for you: Helps your body stay limber and increases your range of movement for ordinary physical activities such as looking behind while driving, tying your shoes, shampooing your hair, and playing with your grandchildren.
The 4th building block of fitness over 50: Balance
- What is it: Maintains standing and stability, whether you’re stationary or moving around. Try yoga, Tai Chi, and posture exercises to gain confidence with balance.
- Why it’s good for you: Improves balance, posture, and quality of your walking. Also reduces risk of falling and fear of falls.
Staying active is not a science. Just remember that mixing different types of exercise helps both reduce monotony and improve your overall health. The key is to find activities that you enjoy. Our caregivers often assist our clients with their exercises, monitoring them for safety and encouraging them to do them on a regular basis. It is one of many in home care services we provide.
‘Til next time.