Please welcome back LivHOME‘s monthly guest blogger PT Sue! She is a registered physical therapist who will give monthly tips for keeping seniors in motion here at LivHOME! Sue will provide you information on ways to keep seniors active to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Strength training to keep your muscles and bones stronger is essential for you to stay more fit, active, self-reliant, and alert. Aerobic exercise, such as walking, will definitely keep your cardiovascular system in better shape to add years to your life but the muscles and bones need to stay strong to provide quality of life in the extended years. As we age, there is a definite aging process of the muscle tissue, and speed and power decline at even a faster rate than does strength.
To improve muscle strength and muscle power, the best method is resistance training using such articles as elastic band and/or weights. Progressive resistance exercise increases muscle mass and strengthens bones. Regular exercise can add a minimum of three years to your life besides improving the cardiovascular function. You tend to lose about 10% of your peak strength per decade starting in your 30’s and escalating once you are past 60 years of life. For example, a young man of 20 years of age who can lift 100 pounds with one arm may be reduced in his 70’s to only lifting 30 pounds. Lower extremity strength is even more important as an indicator of future fragility. Individuals, who have led an active lifestyle, enter their older years with more strength reserve and usually continue to be active, maintaining strength and a higher level of functional ability compared to those individuals who are more sedimentary.
When considering an exercise program, consider the following rules:
1) Warm up and cool down exercises
2) Use proper technique and form
3) Continue breathing while exercising. Breathe out when lifting and pushing; breathe in when releasing.
4) Keep your joints and muscles relaxed while exercising.
5) When starting a routine, start slowly and don’t overdo. Allow 48 hours rest between sessions, at least initially, to allow your muscles to recover. When you increase the resistance, give your body time to adjust.
6) If you become ill, back off on the exercises, let your body recover, and then resume.
7) Work within your comfortable range and limits—don’t under do but don’t overdo. When the exercise becomes easy, it is time to increase the resistance.
So, what happens if you do a very thorough resistance work out 3 times a week or more but you mainly sit in your work, up to 8 to 9 hours a day? Research has shown that sitting that long on a regular basis, regardless of your workouts, has some very possible negative effects, such as:
1) Doubles your risk of developing diabetes
2) Increases your risk for heart disease, obesity, and possibly even some forms of cancer
3) Decreases your life expectancy by at least 2 years
So, how do you solve the problem? Consider some physical movement every hour of sitting: ankle pumps, marching, knee extension, standing up whenever possible. Try taking a 10 minute walk on you break time or lunch time. A sedimentary lifestyle is the main precursor to unsuccessful aging. It is never too late to start to become more active, but certainly easier if started at a younger age. Whatever program you start, it should be designed for your specific body needs and consideration of several variables, such as intensity, number of repetitions, duration, power, speed, and exercise specificity.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at my web site, ptsue.com; my office (951)369-6507; or my email, firstname.lastname@example.org. My goal is to help seniors keep healthy and moving. I welcome all questions and/or comments.