Exercise is important for ageing individuals, as it can help keep them physically and mentally well as they grow older. Many health professionals and carers recommend that individuals over the age of 65 get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day. This doesn’t necessarily mean vigorous exercise, and can include light physical tasks such as cleaning or walking.
There is ample evidence that suggests regular exercise can improve your overall health. More specifically, it can improve digestive functioning, regulate blood pressure, lower risk of health-related diseases and conditions, reduce likelihood of heart disease, enhance mobility and enable good balance.
To support ageing individuals to incorporate healthy exercising into the daily routine, our aged care team have developed some key exercising tips for ageing individuals.
- Always warm up before engaging in physical exercise.
Warming the body and muscles before physical activity will reduce the risk of an injury while working out. This could include light stretching and low impact movements. Cooling down is also important for relaxing the muscles.
- Include exercises and sports that promote good balance.
Balance is an area that ageing individuals can often struggle with as they grow older. To promote good balance, elderly persons may want to consider yoga classes, Ta Chi classes, side leg raises, or heel raises. Brisk walking and standing up throughout the day will also help with balance.
- Ask your doctor or carer about appropriate exercises for you.
Everybody is different, so it’s important that you discuss personalised exercise plans with a medical professional or carer. They will ensure you don’t over-stress your body or engage in activities that present potential harm. No matter what conditions or mobility limitations you may have, there will be exercises suited to you, so be sure to chat with a health worker who understands your unique body.
- Conduct exercise activities in groups or with friends and family.
Working out with friends and family can help you stay motivated and feel safe while exercising. Rather than going for a walk alone, we recommend that ageing individuals phone a friend and ask whether they are available to join them. When talking and socialising, it is easy to forget that you are exercising and it will make the entire experience more enjoyable.
- Prioritise strength over cardio.
When thinking about exercise, many people immediately think about cardiovascular workouts and vigorous activities. For many ageing individuals, maintaining and improving their strength is just as important as sustaining good heart health. Some ways to improve strength at home include: sitting and standing with a chair, completing gentle push ups against a wall, bicep curls with a water bottle or ball, raising calves while sitting down, and using resistance bands.
- Join a senior exercise group or community activity.
There are many exercise groups for seniors, or services that focus on improving the health and well-being of elderly individuals. Contact St John’s Community Care for more information about our services.