Exercise for the elderly

THIS past few months, I have been working more and more with the elderly population. While I’m predominantly known for working with athletes, I do not see much difference between them and the elderly. Here’s one of my clients, she’s 91 years young, and we still get her to work on the extension of her ankles, knees and hips.

Given the proper structure and system, exercise for the elderly goes a long way to maintaining quality of life and decreasing the effects of aging. Here are some strategies to get the elderly moving more:

Walk, walk, walk. The more our senior clients walk, the better they get. Why? It’s a low-impact way to strengthen the lower body, maintain balance and get some cardiovascular conditioning in.

Dance. This is great for the same reasons as walking but you get the added coordination requirements. This places more demand on balance though.

Lift weights. Probably my favorite intervention for the elderly. Strength training has been shown to aid in the control of glycemia, strengthening the bones and decreasing the loss of muscle mass. Our clients have also significantly improved the performance of simple tasks like getting out of the chair or their vehicles.

Undergo aquatic exercise. When not able to walk yet, the aquatic environment can provide support and comfort to be able to do more work while gradually strengthening the body and the cardiovascular system.

Exercise goes a long way to improve mood, memory and quality of life for our elderly. It’s time to make it into a widespread intervention for our elderly to help them age better.
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