The progressive aging process can cause a gradual reduction in the body's mobility. However, we must not forget that age is just a number and that a healthy body contains a healthy spirit and lots of energy. Why is physical activity important in old age? How to take care of it, and how can older people stay physically active?
Physical activity is the key to successful aging, and today it is crucial to promote and facilitate increased physical activity from an early age. Older adults need to spend at least 150 minutes a week in moderate physical activity.
We could define physical activity as any bodily movement beneficial for our body. It is essential that at this point, we discard the preconceived idea that only sport can be considered as such, but that there are many other activities that, even without leaving home, can have a very positive impact on our health.
If, as older people, we manage to maintain a routine with physical activity, we will get used to it, and we will no longer be able to do without it. Something very positive.
For example, carrying out some of our daily obligations and responsibilities, such as going shopping or doing housework, will make our muscles and joints look better. Still, we will also significantly impact our mood, feeling much more positively.
How to stay active in old age?
Staying active in old age is a valid question for those who have reached old age. It is never easy to get over the years, but that does not mean falling into a sedentary lifestyle or inactivity. On the contrary, with an excellent diet and good habits, the human body offers a lot. There are endless recreational, sports, or physical activities that any older adult can do. It only requires willingness and desire to try a dynamic lifestyle at this stage of life, as such.
The practice of physical exercise is one of the main non-pharmacological strategies for healthy aging and improving quality of life. The movement has beneficial effects on psychological and physical aspects in older people and is the main protective factor against diseases associated with age. Therefore, it is crucial to perform both aerobic and anaerobic exercises:
Anaerobic activities are short, high-intensity activities to build strength and power. The practice of these exercises helps strengthen muscle mass, prevent osteoporosis, and improve autonomy.
Aerobic activities are moderate and of more significant duration in time to achieve resistance. Walking or swimming are examples of this activity.
Recommended activities for older adults
Professional caregiver services are ideal for offering your elders the keys to healthy, active, and happy aging. Physical activity in the elderly is essential for their general well-being, both physically and emotionally.
Exercise at this stage consists of recreational activities, bike rides or walks, yoga, moderate-intensity sports such as swimming or golf, and various types of gymnastics such as aerobics or ballroom dancing. One option may be to combine two activities: moderate and vigorous.
The recommended time for physical activity is at least 150 minutes a week, in the case of moderate exercises such as aerobics. If it involves some vigorous physical activity, also aerobics, the weekly time is reduced to 75 minutes.
You should not forget that there are numerous socio-cultural animation activities for the elderly. It is important to always encourage people with reduced mobility activities, especially exercises that improve balance to prevent falls. Muscle strengthening exercises are also essential and should be done twice a week.
How to take care of physical activity for seniors?
As an older adult, one of the most important things you can do for your health is to get regular physical activity. It can help prevent many health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps strengthen your muscles to continue doing your daily tasks without depending on others.
Remember that doing any physical activity is better than doing nothing at all. For this reason, if you do more physical activity, you will get more benefits.
Here we share some activities that you can do to say active no matter your age.
Definitely, we can say that walking is a great activity to stay active physically when you are old. Frequent walks through the countryside are an excellent option for the elderly. They help oxygenate the body and strengthen the immune system. Suppose we add sunny weather and cloudless skies to this. In that case, we get extra support for the musculoskeletal system because the sun's rays are the best way to maintain optimal levels of vitamin D in the body, which promotes bone health, the adequate concentration of calcium and phosphorus and the proper functioning of the muscles, among other things.
Walking is an excellent option because it promotes a sense of security, improves balance, increases the speed of movement, reduces stress and the risk of heart disease, maintains the proper weight, and reduces the feeling of fatigue.
Over the years, it has been notable that more clubs or gyms dedicate special classes to seniors. In most cases, these are correctly selected exercises in the form of pilates, aerobics, corrective gymnastics, and even elements of strength training. Instructors ensure that the safety and level of intensity match the group's capabilities and provide fundamental support to muscles and joints. There's an added benefit: Exercising in a group is a great way to satisfy seniors' need to socialize and make new friends.
There are different options, such as dancing, swimming, and practicing tai chi. The doctor you trust should indicate the time and type of physical activities, especially if you have a history of significant injuries.
It is an excellent investment if people buy home exercise equipment because of its benefits. Equipment such as a stationary bike or an elliptical bike is a great solution to take care of physical activity in the elderly within its four walls. Both devices do not cause excessive stress on the joints of the lower limbs, favor the maintenance of correct bodyweight mobility, and support the care of an optimal level of cardiorespiratory fitness.
The benefits of physical activity in the elderly
The third age is a stage of life in which we must pay close attention to physical health and mental and socio-affective health. Physical activity can act on all three aspects and help us live a healthier, happier, and more autonomous life, as long as we practice it with care and take into account our physical characteristics and our particular needs.
Physical activity can also affect older people's mental abilities and psychological health, especially if elements that contribute to exercising the mind are added when practicing sports.