Older Adults should exercise to combat diseases



Older adults are considered any individual that is 65 or older and any individual 50-64 year old with clinically significant conditions or physical limitations that affect movement, physical fitness, or physical activity. Overwhelming evidence supports the benefits of physical activity in older individuals such as slowing physiological changes of aging, optimizing age-related changes in body composition, promoting psychological and cognitive well being, managing chronic diseases, reducing the risk of physical disability and increased longevity.


Despite all of the benefits of physical activity in the older population, only 11% meet the federal guidelines. In addition to the benefits that are reaped for all adults, regular exercise in older adults reduces the risk of falls, injuries from falls, and functional limitations and improves the management of many conditions including dementia, anxiety, and back pain.


Exercise is important at any age, but especially important in the older adult population. Not only does this population want to be healthy, but they want to keep their independence as long as possible. When the older adults are able to keep up with a fitness routine, they increase their bone strength, decrease the risk of falls or broken bones from injuries and improve their balance, not to mention cognitive stimulation. All of these functions are important to be able to live a healthy and independent lifestyle. To obtain all of these benefits, the older adult should engage in aerobic, resistance/strength training, and balancing/Neuromotor exercises. Below is the recommendations from ACSM for the older adult population.


FITNESS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR OLDER ADULTS


Aerobic

Frequency - 5 or more days a week

Intensity - On a scale of 1-10. 5-6 for moderate intensity, 7-8 for vigorous intensity

Time - 30-60 minutes of moderate, 20-30 minutes for vigorous

Type - Any modality that does not impose excessive orthopedic stress such as walking, biking or aquatic classes


Resistance

Frequency - 2 or more days a week

Intensity - Light intensity for beginners, progress to moderate to vigorous intensity

Time - 8-10 exercises, 1-3 reps

Type - Weight training


Flexibility

Frequency - 2 or more days a week

Intensity - Stretch to the point of feeling tightness or slight discomfort

Time - Hold stretch for 30-60 seconds

Type - Physical activities that maintain or increase flexibility using slow movements

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