Exercise Becomes More Important As We Age

cyclists-669809-mDespite their ages, most people won’t have done a great deal of regular exercise since they were in high school. So when they retire and want to improve their golf game, keep up with grandchildren or stay active in the bedroom, they need to see their health professional for a complete check-up before embarking on an intensive exercise program. It’s important to get an evaluation of the potential risks of orthopedic injuries, heart attacks and/or strokes.

Once the doctor has given the OK, retired people are advised to invest in themselves by hiring a professional trainer for a few session to help them set goals, teach them the exercises to meet those goals and avoid the injuries that might come with going about it incorrectly.

A sports-med doctor at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery, Jordan Metzl, suggests that one way to accomplish their fitness goals is to find something they like to do and join a group that is doing that activity. Groups provide encouragement and motivation plus a social element that might be missing from their lives otherwise.

The Benefits of Regular Exercise

According to many studies, exercise reduces the risks associated with heart disease, strokes, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression, anxiety, cognitive disorders/decline and bone fractures. Additionally, exercise can significantly improve memory, mood, concentration and sleep patterns.

In fact, for many people regular physical activity can be equally effective to medication in reducing the incidences of premature deaths in those who have previously had strokes or heart attacks. With a regular program of exercise, people may be able to reduce the amount of medication they’re taking (under their doctor’s supervision, of course).

Governmental Guidelines for Physical Activity

For the greatest benefit, adults need to take 2½ hours or more of moderate to intensive physical activity or 1¼ hrs vigorous activity every week. This can involve walking briskly, swimming laps, or jogging. Aerobic exercise can be broken down into 10 minute sessions. Greater health benefits will be obtained with 2½ hours of vigorous physical activity or 5 hours of moderately intense physical activities every week.
To strengthen all of the major muscle groups, adults need to do moderate or highly intensive resistance training on two or more days every week. Exercises should involve the lower legs, hips, abdomen, upper legs, back, chest and shoulders. Exercises can include gardening tasks such as carrying heavy loads, hoeing or digging, as well as gym-based ones like using machines or free weights, resistance bands and calisthenics such as push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, etc.
Some people may be hindered by their physical condition and/or a disability, but even older or disabled people need to exercise as much as their situation allows. Exercise to improve balance can really benefit those at risk of falling.

With people living longer and the ever increasing problem of obesity even among older people, continuing to stay physically active is becoming even more important for overall physical and mental well-being. Many health clubs are now offering special rates, classes and times to retired people, but even without going to the gym regularly, older people need to remember that the health benefits of 150 minutes of exercise every week will help them live a longer and healthier life.

At any time of life, sports injuries can happen. For information, advice and help contact the highly qualified and experienced SportsMed team of specialists in orthopaedics, neurosurgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, pain management and podiatry, plus other areas of medicine. They can help to put you back on your feet.

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