What is the Importance of Fitness for Seniors?

Nick Doniger

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.

Walking is a healthy exercise for the elderly.
Walking is a healthy exercise for the elderly.

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.

While intense exercise is not always recommended for the elderly, exercises that improve flexibility, balance, strength and cardiovascular health usually are.
While intense exercise is not always recommended for the elderly, exercises that improve flexibility, balance, strength and cardiovascular health usually are.

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.

Seniors can improve their fitness with the right combination of vitamins and medications.
Seniors can improve their fitness with the right combination of vitamins and medications.

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.

A water fitness class may help seniors improve overall cardiovascular health.
A water fitness class may help seniors improve overall cardiovascular health.

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.

Fitness for seniors can help prevent injuries that can lead to hospitalization.
Fitness for seniors can help prevent injuries that can lead to hospitalization.

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.

Doctors can often recommend a safe and effective fitness program for seniors.
Doctors can often recommend a safe and effective fitness program for seniors.
Like people of any age, it's important that older adults maintain caring relationships and have a positive mental outlook.
Like people of any age, it's important that older adults maintain caring relationships and have a positive mental outlook.
Completing crossword puzzles has been shown to improve mental well-being in the elderly.
Completing crossword puzzles has been shown to improve mental well-being in the elderly.
Exercising may help prevent diseases such as diabetes and heart disease in the elderly.
Exercising may help prevent diseases such as diabetes and heart disease in the elderly.
Some level of fitness for seniors is recommended, even for those who need assistance getting around.
Some level of fitness for seniors is recommended, even for those who need assistance getting around.
Moderate exercise is considered essential for seniors.
Moderate exercise is considered essential for seniors.
Lifting light weights can improve muscle tone and alleviate pain from arthritis.
Lifting light weights can improve muscle tone and alleviate pain from arthritis.
Exercise for seniors can help to lower their blood pressure.
Exercise for seniors can help to lower their blood pressure.

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