Endurance exercises are key for seniors who are trying to overcome the effects of chronic illness. Whether your aging loved one suffers from arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, or emphysema, exercise can help alleviate symptoms. Staying active reduces pain and stiffness while lowering blood pressure and glucose levels. Endurance exercises include walking, swimming, dancing, and bicycling.
Strengthening exercises are used to strengthen bones and muscles. They are especially important for those who’ve had a stroke with residual weakness of the extremities. These workouts include using free weights, resistance bands, and push-ups against a wall. Strengthening exercises increase metabolism, which also lowers blood sugar in diabetics.
Stretching exercises not only give strength, but also improve range of motion in seniors' extremities. This promotes independence and allows them to participate in self-care. Stretching exercises are usually performed with balancing exercises minimizing the risk of falls. It is important to do stretching and balancing exercises before endurance to prevent muscle and ligament tears.
For simple stretches, stretch your legs out in front of you and extend your feet toward and then away from your body, repeating this motion several times. There are many other stretching exercises at different intensity levels are offered by the physical therapy departments in senior living communities. Some simple balance exercises include standing on one foot, walking a straight line, and getting up and down from a chair.
Exercising outdoors is preferable to soak up the Vitamin D provided by the sun.
Joining an exercise class whether in a senior living community or otherwise provides added social interaction which usually lifts the senior’s spirits.
It is important that the senior drinks plenty of fluids while exercising to prevent dehydration, which is always a danger with the elderly.
Seniors should be extremely careful when beginning an exercise program and obtain approval from their physician. Strict supervision by qualified personnel is imperative. If the senior develops any adverse reaction such as chest pain, severe shortness of breath, or dizziness, the activity must stop immediately and emergency services called.