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Physical Mobility, Fitness and Health Concerns for Seniors

Obesity is a health issue that affects 20 percent of adults over the age of 65 in the United States. With “baby boomers” coming to their golden years, the rate of obesity is expected to continue to rise. Diet and lack of exercise are contributing factors to obesity. There has been some controversy about implementation of exercise routines for seniors. Concerns about age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, and fractured bones were commonly cited as a precaution against exercise regiments. Recent studies discount the myth of dangerous exercise by showing that exercise reduces the risk of muscle loss and preserves bone density. Exercise coupled with a healthy diet can reduce obesity safely and effectively.

plsyical training

Reduce Sodium Intake

Seniors should reduce their sodium intake. Sodium causes the body to retain water, which makes some of its functions difficult. High blood pressure is also related to high sodium intake. Fiber is a natural cleanser that cleans the digestive track and facilitates proper nutrient absorption from food. Good sources of fiber include raw vegetables and fruits. Fats should not be completely avoided. Avocados, walnuts, olive oil and flax can protect against heart disease by controlling cholesterol levels.

Carbohydrates should be eaten in the form of whole grains, brown rice, beans, fruits and vegetables. Refined flour and white rice cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar. The body digests these simple carbohydrates quickly, causing hunger to return sooner than when whole grains are eaten. Sugar intake should be meager, as it provides only empty carbohydrates. Sugar is hidden in processed foods under names such as fructose, corn syrup, dextrose and cane juice.

Make An Exercise Routine

Seniors should implement a diverse exercise routine that improves cardiovascular health and improves mobility. They will benefit from practicing aerobic exercise in moderate intensity five times per week for a duration of 30 minutes per day. When starting a routine, seniors should start with 10 to 15 minutes and build their way up. Aerobic exercise pumps healthy, oxygen rich blood to the body, and it improves heart health, mental heath and immune response. Aerobic exercise also results in a better night’s sleep. Biking, walking, swimming and low-impact exercise routines are excellent ways to incorporate aerobics into a senior workout.

Resistance Training

Resistance training preserves lean muscle and bone density in seniors, so its role is vital in a senior exercise regimen. Resistance training should be included in exercise sessions two to three times per week. Beginning with lightweight barbells or weight equipment, seniors should perform eight to 10 resistance exercises including arm lifts and leg presses. Repeat eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, or until muscles are fatigued. Seniors should never strain to complete a repetition and should allow ample time for muscle rest and recovery between resistance routines.

Flexibility and balance can be increased with exercise, as well. Natural aging can cause flexibility and balance difficulties. Stiff joints and weak ligaments are exacerbated by sedentary lifestyles, so seniors must work to keep themselves limber. Stretching exercises before and after each workout improves flexibility, balance and freedom of movement.

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