The saying goes “exercises offer lots of benefits and welcome people of all ages” but many elderly have years of pains in the muscles or joints which discourage them to leave home, let alone exercise outdoors. Their mental health could also be affected overtime if the pains can’t be relieved.
Doing the right exercises, in fact, not only helps increase their blood circulation and strengthen their cardiovascular function, but also lower high blood pressure and improve heart disease symptoms. Other benefits include increasing muscular power and stamina, improving body balance and coordination as well as preventing them from falling over. Since summer is here, we should encourage our aged friends and relatives to go outside for fresh air and exercises.
While choosing the right exercises for them, we should keep in mind that:
So does it mean that they can’t take part in most outdoor exercises or activities? The answer is no. Here are some exercise suggestions that can improve their body function while taking their concerns into consideration:
It’s the best option for the elderly with joint pains, simply because the buoyancy of water eliminates the impact and pressure exerted on the joints. Besides swimming, walking in water is also an ideal body balance and flexibility training. Do these exercises for up to 30 minutes each time, 2-3 times a week.
It helps improve the cardiopulmonary function and muscular power without any physical contact while exerting minimal pressure on the joints. All these work towards fall prevention.
Calf muscles training
Face a balustrade in a park and hold on to it with both hands, keep your back straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, then lift your ankles slowly and stand on your forefeet for 10-15 seconds before bringing your ankles down to the ground. Rest and repeat the exercise for 3-5 times.
Thigh muscles training
Stand by the balustrade on your left and hold on to it with your left hand, feet should be shoulder-width apart, then take turns to lift your legs up to a horizontal position while keeping your back straight, hold on for 8-15 seconds. Repeat the movement 3-5 times, then do the same with the balustrade on your right.
To conclude, anyone at any age can benefit from exercising. Just choose the right ones carefully for your elderly and let them enjoy the fun while improving their health!
Sonia Tsang – Senior Manager, Organization and People Development Division of a listed company; Founder and Executive Director of F8 Funding Limited