How To Design an Exercise Program for the Elderly

The physical exertion of the body resulting from a physical activity in order to achieve a healthier level of physical as well as mental wellness is referred to as exercise. Anything that keeps a person moving such as walking, tending the garden, and working in the backyard among other activities can be considered as forms of exercise. Many people do not acknowledge the importance of exercise until the lack of physical exertion results in some disorder or illness in the body. Men and women, young and old need to have an exercise program that will enhance or maintain overall health.

Exercises provide a lot of benefits, which include strengthening muscles, optimizing cardiovascular system, enhancing brain function, controlling body weight, and increasing the immune system, and improving athletic skills. It also helps prevent diseases including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Exercises also help control your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. They can reduce stress or help prevent depression.

As a person gets older, a lot of changes in the body take place. The body becomes more susceptible to ailments related to old age such as high blood pressure, arthritis, and rheumatism. The bones get weaker, and the bodily functions deteriorate and become more prone to fractures. With regular exercise, muscles, bones and joints are strengthened and the aging process is decelerated. The elderly can still feel young, strong and independent to do things on their own. While it is never too late for an elderly person to start performing exercises, it is very important to ensure proper care and considerations prior to making exercise plans.

  1. Determine whether physical exertion would be safe for the body’s condition. The only way to address this is to have the elderly undergo a physical examination. Elderly or not, it is always advisable to consult a doctor prior to performing any exercise. The doctor can give you inputs on the body’s response to various levels of physical activity. Only then can you begin to design exercise plans and an exercise schedule. 
  2. Based on the doctor’s findings, know what specific options can be used. There are light, moderate and vigorous exercises. While there are senior individuals who are still very much engaged in running, cycling, and heavy weight training, stretch exercises are good for late adulthood. Consider Yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates programs.
  3. Is there a need for a personal trainer? The elder might prefer exercise plans where he can independently move around in his own home minus the need of a personal trainer. Walking, dancing, doing household chores, and stretching types of routines can be done alone as long as the elder is aware of his pace, and his limits. Some elders would go for a gym workout exercise where cardio exercises, lifting or dumbbell program, and other types of routine are directed by professional trainers. The advantage of routines being done with a trainer or at the gym is the ability for the person to socialize.  The elderly can meet other senior individuals with whom they can relate. They can encourage or motivate one another and continue to have fun.

When designing an exercise program for the elderly, it is important to stress what the elderly should do prior to the activity, during the activity, and after the activity. Warming up properly, intake of water during the training, cooling down and doing post exercise must-dos should be emphasized.


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