While regular exercise is recommended for people of all ages, fitness for seniors is considered particularly important in promoting health, longevity and reducing the risks associated with various ailments. Regular exercise among the elderly may reduce the risks of acquiring colon cancer, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and pain or discomfort associated with arthritis. Since vigorous exercise may seem daunting to senior citizens who already suffer from health conditions and general aches and pains, fitness for seniors often varies a bit from fitness for younger people. Some types of recommended exercise, however, remain the same for people of all ages.
Endurance exercises such as walking, swimming or biking are important for the elderly, just as they are for any age group. These activities promote strengthening of the heart and circulatory system. Aerobic exercise may help seniors lose or maintain weight, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. All of these advantages are helpful in fighting against stroke and coronary disease, as both are serious potential threats to senior citizens.
Certain types of exercises are particularly important for the elderly. Proper stretching helps improve flexibility, and balancing exercises reduce the risk of falling. Intense physical activity is not always necessary for older people, but moderate senior exercise is considered essential for good health. In order to prevent pain and discomfort, elderly people may find it helpful to apply heat to his or her joints to become more limber, warm up slowly and increase the intensity of exercise gradually.
Regular physical activity significantly benefits those who suffer from arthritis. Weight loss exercises may prevent the aggravation of sore joints and limbs by excess body weight. The strengthening of muscles around the joints and maintenance of bone strength, which both may be attributed to regular exercise, help to diminish joint pain among arthritis sufferers. Additionally, proper fitness for seniors promotes a higher level of energy during the day, thereby also promoting a better night's sleep. This may reduce stress and pressure incurred on the joints from poor sleep.
Strength exercises may also seem quite difficult for aging bodies, yet are an integral part of fitness for seniors. Light weight-lifting and other muscle-building activities help to reduce muscle loss that occurs naturally from aging, thereby promoting independence and reducing the need for a cane or other walking aids. Such exercises additionally lessen the risk of injuries and bone fractures and promote quick healing of many already incurred injuries.
Exercise is recommended even for elderly people who have been relatively inactive for long periods of time. Since fitness for seniors will vary person by person depending on weight, age and any pre-existing health conditions, it is recommended that aging people consult a physician or health-care provider before beginning a regular exercise routine.