Physical exercise for the elderly has been the focus of many studies, as the population is getting older and there is an increase in the average life expectancy. Aging is a natural process of the life cycle that involves the regression of the physical, physiological and social capacities of the human being.
However, physical activity for the older people is associated with longevity and lower risk of morbidity.
It is always a good idea to keep in mind that exercise is much more than helping to maintain weight and fitness, and a recent research from the universities of Birmingham and King’s College London provides overwhelming evidence in this regard. The study found that older people that are more active have health parameters similar to younger people, such as preserved muscle mass and a good immune system.
To conduct the research, scientists recruited people with 50 to 80 year-olds who who always play sports and continue to practice sports. That always had the habit of exercising. The volunteers underwent a series of laboratory tests and were compared to a group of the same age who did not have the habit of exercising regularly.
In evaluating these people, experts noted that the loss of muscle mass and strength, common in older people, did not occur among those who exercised regularly. To top it off, they have not accumulated body fat or seen cholesterol levels rise.
Physical exercise for the older people may be associated with the prevention of chronic diseases, cardiovascular disease, fall prevention, autonomy for daily tasks, being beneficial for mental health, thus increasing the quality of life of the elderly.
Beyond maintaining a good body fitness, exercise can very well be one of the best remedies against depression, sadness and aimlessness that affect many older people at this stage of their lives.
Regular physical activity produces endorphins, the “happiness hormones” that trigger feelings of well-being and self-confidence. It is also true that those who exercise regularly feel much better with their physical image and this is important to anyone regardless of their age.
Who doesn’t like to look in the mirror and smile because they appreciate the image they see there? Feeling good about ourselves is halfway to feeling good about life and the people around us.
However, physical exercise for the elderly, as for any other type of population, should be prescribed according to their limitations, characteristics and individual capabilities.
However, as a rule, this population has more risk factors, to which the intervention professional in the area should pay special attention. It is important to recognize the most common pathologies in the older population and to guide physical exercise as a form of prevention and rehabilitation.
It also helps they sleep better. Age often brings with it sleep disturbances that affect the nights of the older people. Regular exercise contributes substantially to better, deeper and more regenerative sleep that comes faster to lay the head on the pillow. The result? An older people who wakes up with more energy for his daily life.
The truth is that older people who exercise regularly will look and feel younger for longer. Proportionately, they will stay active longer, which means they will trade a sedentary lifestyle for a more active life and thus, in addition to gaining health and well-being, make them more independents.