Active living is important for your health and wellbeing, no matter what your age is, but it can be vital for older adults.
Being active and mobile can help prevent many chronic conditions that can impact you as you age. Even moderate exercise can contribute to your body’s balance and bone strength, which is why it’s never too late to start exercising.
By incorporating exercise into your daily routine, you can help prevent loss of bone mass, restore and build endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.
Being active doesn’t mean you have to be a gym addict. It can be as simple as the following:
Walking doesn’t require any extra equipment apart from supportive shoes. Taking a walk every day is a simple and effective way to help maintain balance and strength.
Strength training can be adapted for your needs through simple exercises such as leg extensions. In a seated position, straighten out one leg, lift to comfortable height, hold for 10 seconds and put down.
Stretching helps you move more freely and can improve your flexibility. Having flexibility helps with tasks such as bending to tie your shoe laces. An easy stretch is the soleus stretch, which helps stretch out your calf muscle. To complete this stretch you, stand in front of a wall with one leg ahead of the other, make sure both feet are pointed towards the wall. Place your palms on the wall at shoulder height for support, bend the knee of your back leg and press the heel into the floor. Lean your hips forward, pushing into the wall and feel the stretch in your back leg. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg. Remember to not stretch so far that it hurts.
If exercise in a gym setting isn’t for you, there are alternatives that can help keep you in shape. Activities such as swimming, cycling, yoga and golf can help build strength and improve balance. There are many low cost or even free activities tailored to older adults at local recreational centres, community health centres and other organizations.
Provided by Dr. Luciano Di Loreto, HBSc., D.C. & Associates