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Keep your Body Fit

Keeping fit is very important as you get older because:

  • It increases your bone density and helps reduce osteoporosis

  • It reduces your chances of becoming disabled as you age

  • It increases your muscle mass and balance and reduces your risk of having falls 

  • It helps you become more flexible

  • It reduces depression and pain by causing your brain to release a hormone called endorphins

  • It helps prevent and control diabetes

  • It helps your heart function properly

  • It can reduce many of the physical factors associated with ageing by keeping your organs in good shape and helping your circulation.  

You should consult with your GP before embarking on any physical activity just as a precaution - you may have certain conditions that could worsen with some types of exercise.

 

Don't talk yourself out of exercising though - it could be a life-saver and could substantially improve your physical and mental health. The videos on this page are especially designed for those with limited mobility (and for people of any age who have lived sedentary lives and/or who have been immobile for a long time because they are recovering from illness and are very unfit) and are a great way to get you started towards achieving a healthier and more mobile life. The exercises are designed to strengthen certain groups of muscles without putting weight and pressure on joints. Follow the routine every day for best results. Once you are more mobile and can move without pain you can progress to more challenging exercise regimes. 

Four types of exercise

These 4 types of exercise are the most important, according to the National Institute on Aging:

  • Endurance. These exercises boost heart rate and breathing over a period of time. They are good for the heart, lungs and circulation. They also help prevent or delay some diseases. Examples are: walking, running, biking, swimming, dancing, or any other activity done without stopping for a period of time.

  • Strength training. Some examples are: weight training or body weight exercises such as push ups or pull ups. Lifting weights make older adults strong enough to do what they need to do – and like to do.

  • Balance. These exercises help prevent falls, a major cause of disability in older adults. Try practicing balancing on 1 foot trying to increase the length of time one is able to do it over time and then adding some movement of the eyes or hands to make it more difficult.

  • Stretching. Some examples are: flexibility exercises, yoga, tai chi, Pilates, anything that makes one try to increase the range of motion of a joint. These exercises help keep the body limber and flexible (be sure you have a sturdy chair to grab on to).

 

Sample exercises for each of the 4 types of exercise can be found on the National Institute on Aging's website

Exercise & Fitness from Harvard Health:

Exercising regularly, every day if possible, is the single most important thing you can do for your health. In the short term, exercise helps to control appetite, boost mood, and improve sleep. In the long term, it reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, depression, and many cancers.

 

Learn more about exercise and fitness for seniors from

Harvard Medical School - Harvard Health

A senior man by the swimming pool
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