While the physical benefits of working out are well-known, there is a strong link between aging and exercise. Including physical activity into your routine has been touted to promote a longer, healthier life. From supporting heart health to improving memory, senior exercise programs can truly benefit overall health. At Providence House of Brighton, MA, we utilize senior exercise programs to promote the health of our residents. These are our recommendations to maintain an active lifestyle as a thriving senior.
- Aerobic Exercise for Heart Health
Also known as cardiovascular exercise or simply “cardio,” aerobic exercise is any exercise that elevates heart and breathing rates. While cardio offers many benefits, including weight management, it is mostly known to support heart health. Elevating heart rate can help improve blood flow to the heart and lungs and encourage healthy blood pressure levels. Lowering high blood pressure reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and dementia. Regular senior exercise programs may protect against future risk of congestive heart failure (CHF) as well.
- Resistance Training for Muscle Preservation
As the body changes, seniors tend to lose precious muscle mass while fat mass takes its place. The swap not only causes a slower metabolism but lessens senior strength and increases their risk for falls and injuries. Fortunately, the effects of aging can be reversed by including resistance and strength training in any senior exercise programs. This especially serves true when paired with a balanced diet with adequate protein.
- Weight-Bearing Exercise for Bone Support
When it comes to exercising for bone health, the best exercise one can do is the weight-bearing kind. Weight-bearing exercises force you to work against gravity and include weight training, walking, and climbing stairs, among many others. Weight-bearing exercise protects against bone density loss, keeping bones strong and reducing fall risk. Seniors should still incorporate calcium and vitamin D sources to support strong bones, taking supplements as needed.
- Leg Exercises for Edema
Edema is when fluid builds up underneath the tissues and causes swelling. If left unmanaged, changes in the skin, pain, and inflammation can occur. While there are many causes of edema, including kidney disease and CHF, it is a common effect of aging. Edema severity can be mitigated with leg exercises, including calf and ankle muscle pumps, calf stretches and strengthening, and walking.
- Swimming for Arthritic Symptoms
When managing arthritis symptoms, the last thing you want to do might be exercise. But most healthcare professionals discourage the notion of “taking it easy” when it comes to effectively managing arthritis. Swimming can be a low-impact, gentle exercise to ease arthritis pain. As a bonus, weight loss can take excess pressure off the joints and relieve symptoms.
- Yoga for Emotional Health
The calming and restoring impacts of yoga support emotional health, including reducing feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. If negative emotions are left unmanaged, they can transpire into chronic stress on the body and even accelerate the aging process. Yoga also improves flexibility, balance, and strength, along with supporting heart, bone, bowel, and overall health.
- Pilates for Back Pain
Many older adults suffer from lower back pain. Doing core exercises can help stretch and strengthen the muscles that support the lower back and reduce the pain. Along with supporting stability and flexibility, Pilates target and activate the core muscles while serving as a gentle, low-impact exercise.
Certain types of exercise can lead to many health benefits. Regular physical activity can likewise augment sleep, boost the immune system, and support bowel health. All-in-all, senior exercise programs improve overall health on physical, mental, and emotional levels. Staying active also lowers the risk of and manages chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. We at Providence House will always support a healthy and active lifestyle for each of our residents. For more information feel free to contact us.