Exercise is a very important aspect of life. But, as we age, our capacity to exercise diminishes. This is because aging may bring along various problems like arthritis, bone and joint troubles, heart and blood vessel blockages, diabetes and hypertension. However, To tackle and counter these conditions, older adults need to maintain a healthy fitness regime.
Whether you choose to workout at a gym or at home, you should know which exercises you can do so that you do not end up with injuries. In general, the elderly do not need muscle-building exercises. Rather, they can’t concentrate on building core strength.
Yoga and pranayama are very good for older adults as a means of fitness of mind and body. Along with this, you can opt for exercising with dumbbells, gymnastics, and Zumba according to your abilities.
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Here are some dos for your exercising:
- Warm-up: Before you start working out, do warming up exercises so that your body gets used to activity slowly rather than directly plunging into a heavy workout. A brisk warm-up session gets your body exercise-ready.
- Aerobic exercise: A set of aerobic exercises (exercises that involve breathing techniques) helps bring down the risks of heart attacks, diabetes, stroke, and depression considerably.
- Stretching: After you are done with your exercise session, stretching is important. Stretching helps your muscles to relax and return to their original positions after a strenuous workout. Failing to do this may result in muscle injury and pain.
- Drink adequate water: The oxygen in water helps keep your body oxygen levels normal. Drink water before you start exercising, during the session and after the session. Water also helps your muscles and joints move more fluidly. You will also feel refreshed by drinking adequate water.
Here are some don’ts for your exercising:
- Do not eat anything at least 2 hours before you exercise: Many people have the habit of having a snack before leaving for the gym to “maintain their energy levels”. But fibre and proteins in food take up to 2 hours to get digested. All other nutrients take as much or more time to get digested. If you have a snack before your gym session, your body is likely to use up your energy for digesting the food. At the end of the session, you might end up feeling more fatigued.
- Do not consume tea/coffee before exercise: If you are the habit of consuming tea/coffee with milk in the morning before exercising, you are actually consuming proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. These are strictly not recommended before a workout as they take time to get digested.
- Stop when tired: Older adults do not have the capacity to work out strenuously for long periods of time. Whenever you feel fatigued or weak, stop immediately. Do not push your body to do more. It may result in muscle injury. Shavasan helps your body recover.
- Do not do an intense workout on an empty stomach: It is usually believed that early mornings are the best time to exercise. But, at that time, it is likely that your stomach is empty. Heavy exercises on an empty stomach lead to muscle burnout. Food is fuel for your body. Have easy-to-digest foods at least 4 hours before your exercise session so that it gets digested before you start. You will get energy for workout from this.
- Do not exercise if you haven’t slept properly: An older adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep. If you are unable to sleep for that much time, you will feel sleepy and tired during the day. Exercising with a tired mind and body will result in more fatigue and you won’t be able to enjoy the session. It is better to rest if you have had inadequate sleep than exercise.
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Keeping these tips in mind will help you have an enjoyable workout session for the fitness of your mind and body.
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