Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Exercise to fight many detrimental effects of aging

Use it or lose it? "Physical inactivity is one of the strongest predictors of unsuccessful aging for older adults and is perhaps the root cause of many unnecessary and premature admissions for long-term care," according to a study published Jan. 25 in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Marco Pahor of the University of Florida and Dr. Jeff Williamson of Winston Salem, N.C., both geriatricians, shared the findings.

Fortunately, many of the detrimental effects of aging can be prevented. How physically independent you are will depend on how well you can function physically. And the good news: Regardless of your age, exercise can improve your quality of life.

Before you begin, it is important to get checked out by your doctor. If you have special issues such as arthritis, osteoporosis or heart disease, you and your physician need to assess what type of exercise is best for you. You will be selecting activities based on your personal level to build endurance, strength, flexibility and balance, the four most important types of exercise for seniors, according to the National Institute on Aging. And on this journey, you will be increasing energy levels, reducing risk of falling and improving your cognition and memory.

A recent study by researchers at Ohio State University found seniors who exercise just three days a week healed 30 percent more quickly than seniors who did not exercise. Here are four good reasons to get a move on.

Increase in endurance

Aerobic exercises will help to build up your endurance by strengthening the lungs and the entire cardiovascular system. When you have not been exercising, even small doses of 10 minutes of cardio exercise can make a singificant impact. Walking, dancing, bicycling, swimming and water aerobics are all good endurance exercises for seniors — anything that keeps you moving and increases heart rate. If problems with mobility are a concern, chair exercises are always available; you can lift weights, stretch and do chair aerobics.

Prevent muscle and bone loss

The No. 1 reason why older adults need assisted living is lack of leg strength. "They can't get out of a chair, walk up stairs or function on their own." says Colin Miner, CEO of the International Council on Aging. Even small changes in muscle strength can improve your ability to climb stairs or stand up from a chair, especially in people who have already lost a lot of muscle. Stronger muscles, which ultimately mean stronger bones, will reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. If you are on the frail side, it would be better to begin a progressive strength-training program for all major muscles at least two to three times a week before beginning moderate-intensity aerobics.

Restore flexibility

For seniors to remain active and independent, they need to maintain range of motion. As we age without activity, muscles will lose their elasticity, causing decreased range of motion in the shoulders, spine and hips. Static stretching, which is stretch and hold for 10 to 30 seconds, is a safe way to increase range of motion. For seniors, stretches should be performed two to three days per week, repeating each stretch there to five times and holding for 20 to 30 seconds. Always warm up a little before you stretch. Cold stretching is not recommended. And do not hold your breath or bounce while you are stretching.

Improve balance

As an inactive body ages, lower limbs begin to weaken. A study published in Geriatrics and Gerontology International tells us because of this weakening, something as simple as ankle exercises can be effective in helping to maintain balance and prevent falls. When performing balance exercises, hold onto a support if needed and contract abdominals — the deep ab muscles help you maintain balance. Another tip is to concentrate and focus on a spot on the floor about 10 to 12 feet in front of you.

If you are 50 or older and have not been exercising, check with your physician before beginning any exercise program. Trainer Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. She can be reached at slafit@tampabay.rr.com.

This month's workout focuses on balance exercises that can be incorporated into your everyday routine. Monica Dalton, 62, shows you the moves.

Walking the tightrope

Extend arms to sides for balance. Focus, looking straight ahead, while walking heel to toe; walk alongside a countertop if support is needed.

Standing side leg lifts

This is a balance exercise that strengthens legs, hip flexors and muscles supporting the knee. Standing straight, slowly lift one leg out to the side, toes facing forward. Hold for a second, then lower leg, repeating 10 to 15 times for each leg, working toward two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. You may want to begin with eight reps.

Standing back leg raises

This exercise strengthens balance, buttocks, lower back and hips. Keeping back straight, slowly lift one leg to the back, hold for about a second and then lower. Keep the standing leg slightly bent at all times to protect the back, and do not raise the working leg higher than you are comfortable with. Repeat 10 to 15 times with each leg, working toward two sets. You may choose to do eight reps in the beginning.

The Karate Kid

This is a yoga posture that improves balance and strengthens legs, arms and shoulders. As you inhale, raise arms out to the sides in line with shoulders, parallel to floor. As you exhale, bend one knee, lifting knee toward chest, keeping other leg straight. Hold for four to five breaths, then repeat with other knee lift.

Exercise to fight many detrimental effects of aging 02/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees

    Politics

    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.