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NJ Senior Living & Lifestyle: Senior Exercise

If a senior has lived to the ripe old age of, say 80, or even 90, why worry about exercise?  Well, in addition to making you look and feel good, regular exercise lowers the risk for heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure and obesity.

It maintains mobility, keeps bones and muscles strong, promotes good balance, and combats frailty.  It increases metabolic rate and burns calories, decreases body fat, improves immune function and promotes bone density.

Recent research also shows that regular exercise can reverse age-related brain decline, affecting such executive-control brain functions as task coordination, planning, goal maintenance, working memory and the ability to switch tasks.

Regular moderate exercise that makes a person breathless increases the speed and sharpness of thought, the actual volume of brain tissue, and the way in which the brain functions. Those with higher levels of physical fitness had less evidence of deterioration in gray matter (involved in thinking) than did less fit peers.

Even frail seniors can and should exercise once they get the green light from their medical professional.  A body is just like a car, it needs to be used to keep working properly. Here are some things to consider:

  • Start slowly and build.  If something hurts, take a break.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes, keep yourself hydrated and wear comfortable sneakers.
  • Include activities that enhance strength, endurance, balance and flexibility.
  • Seek out activities you enjoy so you won’t view exercising as a chore.
  • Aerobic exercise or cardiovascular conditioning is extremely beneficial for seniors.  It allows the heart and lungs to work out at an elevated rate, supplies oxygen to the muscles, and improves the overall efficiency of the cardiovascular system.

Exercise physiologists like Sal Fichera, author of the book Stop Aging & Start Training and a recent guest on Focus on Seniors Radio with David Goodman, places an emphasis on weight or resistance training needs.  He suggests beginning with lighter and manageable weights and fewer repetitions, and increasing over time.

Get out there and start exercising!

Posted by: Frank Esposito, Vice President of Expert Home Care in New Jersey

New Jersey’s Expert Home Care for Elders and Seniors has been providing senior care, home care & live-in care for your aging loved ones since 1984. Please call us when you need help at 800-848-2336. Click for a Free Home Care Consumer Guide for selecting the most appropriate home care agency for your loved one.

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