What is the Importance of Elderly Fitness?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt
Fitness helps people enjoy longer, healthier lives.
Fitness helps people enjoy longer, healthier lives.

Physical fitness is a valuable element of life for people of every age group. It is especially important to the elderly. Elderly fitness is important in maintaining health, flexibility, and longevity, as well as in managing pain and symptoms of physical ailments.

Fitness programs can help seniors maintain a healthy weight and body function. As bodies age, they become weaker. Moving the body through exercise can help restore and preserve its strength, which can help the elderly maintain their mobility for everyday tasks. Many falls and injuries that seniors experience can be prevented through regular physical activity.

Walking outdoors can be a good exercise for the elderly.
Walking outdoors can be a good exercise for the elderly.

Senior immune systems are often more susceptible to disease, from serious conditions to the common cold. Working out can help improve immune system strength and function, helping to prevent sickness and lower the risk of deadly diseases. If an elderly person already has contracted an illness, exercise can often help manage the disease as well as ease its symptoms. This results in a much more comfortable lifestyle.

Tai Chi can benefit almost anyone of any age.
Tai Chi can benefit almost anyone of any age.

A few hours dedicated to elderly fitness each week can help senior citizens live healthier, longer lives. As muscles in the body strengthen, the body can move more easily. Since seniors often experience joint pain, problems with mobility, and a lack of general flexibility, exercise can be a welcome addition to their lifestyle. Working these muscles through a regular workout program can help prevent, abate, or even cure these issues.

Seniors should be encouraged to get out of the house and remain active.
Seniors should be encouraged to get out of the house and remain active.

Many seniors often find themselves overweight. Elderly fitness classes, particularly those that involve aerobics, can help these elderly men and women elevate their heart rates and lose the weight that may be cumbersome in their daily activities. Weight loss can help ease senior joint pain as well. Seniors experiencing heart problems or issues with blood circulation may also find that their conditions improve while engaging in elderly fitness programs.

Doctors can often recommend a safe and effective fitness program for seniors.
Doctors can often recommend a safe and effective fitness program for seniors.

Elderly quality of life can be improved overall with regular elderly exercises. Any such changes or additions to regular elderly health care, however, should be discussed with a person's regular physician. He or she can help determine appropriate exercises and activities, as well as a healthful diet, to maintain elderly balance. Some workout programs can also be dangerous for elderly people to complete; a doctor can help determine the safest, most optimal choices.

Water fitness is a popular option for elderly people who want to stay in shape.
Water fitness is a popular option for elderly people who want to stay in shape.

Several fitness options are available for older people. Some seniors enjoy taking part in tai chi, yoga, or other gentle exercises. Water fitness and walking are other popular choices. Elderly fitness can also include general sports, exercise classes, hiking, gardening, and other activities, depending on the individual's preference and abilities.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for TheHealthBoard and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for TheHealthBoard and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

Discussion Comments

stevef

WiseGeek writes a great article showing that flexibility, longevity, weight loss and immune health can be enhanced by exercise. Seniors love and guard their independence and they should. It is probably humiliating when they have to admit that they need a few hours per week of assistance. They may want to remain independent but do not have the extra energy for cooking and housework—they need senior home care. They may need someone to help them do errands or take them to doctor appointments and such. Programs are available to help these people do these simple tasks.

truman12

I used to be the senior exercise coordinator at a large nursing home facility. I would lead group exercise classes throughout the day and also work one on one with residents who had more unique fitness needs or goals.

It was a fairly good job but kind of routine. There is a big difference between senior fitness and athletic fitness. Athletes are trying to optimize their bodies. Seniors just want to hold on to what they have. Eventually I wanted a more challenging environment.

clippers

I do not have a lot of experience caring for the elderly but my 85 year old father recently moved in with us. He is in fairly good health all things considered but I know that he could be doing better. He has arthritis and has mobility issues and his body is withering away from inactivity.

Can anyone recommend some simple exercises that I could do with him to encourage his physical fitness? Or, would it be better for me to seek out a doctor or a professional who can work with him?

whiteplane

Fitness in the elderly is crucial for maintaining happiness and well being. I could go over a number of different physical conditions that fitness also benefits but these will be so varied and unique to the individual that they are almost not worth mentioning.

Really, the most important reason for the elderly to stay fit is that fit bodies feel better. As you age you have an increasingly adversarial relationship with your own body. Keeping it fit keeps you in control of it.

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    • Fitness helps people enjoy longer, healthier lives.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      Fitness helps people enjoy longer, healthier lives.
    • Walking outdoors can be a good exercise for the elderly.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      Walking outdoors can be a good exercise for the elderly.
    • Tai Chi can benefit almost anyone of any age.
      By: simonkr
      Tai Chi can benefit almost anyone of any age.
    • Seniors should be encouraged to get out of the house and remain active.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      Seniors should be encouraged to get out of the house and remain active.
    • Doctors can often recommend a safe and effective fitness program for seniors.
      By: Monkey Business
      Doctors can often recommend a safe and effective fitness program for seniors.
    • Water fitness is a popular option for elderly people who want to stay in shape.
      By: ysbrandcosijn
      Water fitness is a popular option for elderly people who want to stay in shape.
    • Walking is a healthy exercise for the elderly.
      By: xalanx
      Walking is a healthy exercise for the elderly.
    • In addition to engaging in physical activity, senior citizens should keep their minds keen by doing puzzles and other games that stimulate the brain.
      By: Monkey Business
      In addition to engaging in physical activity, senior citizens should keep their minds keen by doing puzzles and other games that stimulate the brain.
    • Even if they need a walker to get around, it's important for elderly people to stay active.
      By: Tyler Olson
      Even if they need a walker to get around, it's important for elderly people to stay active.
    • While intense exercise is not always recommended for the elderly, exercises that improve flexibility, balance, strength and cardiovascular health usually are.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      While intense exercise is not always recommended for the elderly, exercises that improve flexibility, balance, strength and cardiovascular health usually are.
    • An elderly person with a strong immune system may be able to fend off some infections and viruses.
      By: Grafvision
      An elderly person with a strong immune system may be able to fend off some infections and viruses.