It is a known fact that aging leads to many changes in the body and aging people are at greater risk of many diseases. However, proper diet, lifestyle modifications and certain exercises can help to a great extent. There are many exercises with excellent benefits for seniors and can be easily practiced with medical guidance. Cardio exercises for seniors are meant to prevent such damages that aging brings.
Cardio Exercises for Seniors
Aging is nothing but accelerated cell death that causes damage to the body. It also causes many problems and increases the risk of several disorders in seniors. However, when seniors are physically and mentally fit, they are better able to deal with aging. Cardio exercises for seniors is one such area that has gained much attention for this purpose. Cardio exercises have great benefits and particularly for seniors, it can reduce the risk of heart diseases and other ailments.
Hypertension, hypotension, obesity, metabolic syndrome, excess oxidants, toxins, presence of free radicals in your blood and decreased aerobic capacity can cause premature cell death. All these factors ultimately also increase the risk of diabetes, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, stroke and many more. As you get old, prevention is the only way to fight these problems and cardio exercises for seniors are the best for this purpose.
Mainly two types of exercise can help you lead a better life, irrespective of pre-existing medical history and present health condition.
- Aerobic Exercises – Activities that stimulate and speed up your heart beat and breathing intervals are aerobics. Aerobic, the word mainly refers to “with oxygen”. Cardio exercises are aerobic exercises and include walking, climbing steps, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, dancing and all the cardio machines at the gym like treadmill, etc. Cardio exercises for seniors are a very simple form of exercises and can be easily performed, without any training.
- Anaerobic Exercises – Anaerobic means “without oxygen.” That means you get out of your breath in just a few moments, for example, lifting heavy weights, sprinting, climbing or jumping stairs more speedily. All aerobic exercises can turn to aerobic exercises when the intensity of exercise is much higher.
Safe Cardio Exercises for Seniors
Some of the safe cardio exercises for seniors include the following.
Walking is one of the simplest cardio exercises for seniors and can be performed depending on your fitness levels. For seniors who are used to sedentary lifestyle may start with simple walking. You may start with this for 10 minutes at first then work up to 30 minutes per day within a time span of one month. If you don’t have the scope to walk around in any open space like lawn, playground etc. try to find passageways at home or nearby malls even. Start slow first then work it up. After few weeks intensify this by carrying light weight in your hand or use backpacks. This will enhance the cardiovascular effectiveness.
Jogging is a great cardio exercise for seniors. Warm yourself up for the first ten minutes with a steady walk. Then start light jogging for three to five minutes. Take rest for a few minutes. Then repeat it for two or three times more at first stage. Over the times, work it up to twenty to thirty minutes with decreasing intervals. Make sure your joints are fit for jogging and it is better to wear sport shoes to avoid injuries.
If you can swim, nothing like it. If the facilities are available in you locale try it to avail. Swimming is considered to be a most effective low-intensity cardio exercises for seniors. Floating in water also offers great relaxation, which is one of the additional benefits of cardio exercises for seniors.
Even if you do not know how to swim, you can still go for aqua aerobics. These are just perfect cardio exercise for seniors that also help to build stamina and muscle strength, while working out in a group. It not only offers all benefits of cardio exercises for seniors, but also keeps your body safe in the water.
Benefits of Cardio Exercises for Seniors
At the outset, people are usually lethargic to do exercises regularly. When we think of exercise, we imagine complicated exercise equipment and rigorous workouts. You can easily change that mind set if you start to understand the benefits of cardio exercises. Particularly, cardio exercise for seniors has a great benefits and it is worth beginning with a safe and healthy cardio exercise regime at the earliest.
Some of the most appreciated benefits of cardio exercises for seniors include:
Osteoporosis is caused by low bone density and is common in seniors. Osteoporosis, which is weak or brittle bones often increases the risk of fractures and other injuries. In seniors, osteoporosis can cause bones to break with the slightest pressure or sometimes even spontaneously. However, regular exercise can maintain bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Cardio exercises for seniors is beneficial in improving blood circulation, muscle strength and improves bone density, thus preventing osteoporosis.
One of the benefits of cardio exercise for seniors is that it can help elevate the mood. Studies suggest that cardio exercises for seniors can help improve emotional condition and prevent mood swings, anxiety and depression, which are common in seniors.
It is a proven fact that regular walking of 150 minutes per week that is 30 minutes per day at the speed of 10 km per hour approximately for three years can reduce the risk of diabetes to the extent of 58%. As aerobic exercise can also improve insulin resistance, cardio exercise for seniors is useful in preventing diabetes. Many diabetics have insulin resistance that means their body can’t use this hormone to convert the glucose to energy efficiently. Cardio exercises for seniors surely has positive effects on insulin resistance, when performed regularly.
Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Regular cardio exercises for seniors are beneficial in improving blood circulation, which augments oxygenation and also improves heart conditioning. It helps to reduce blood pressure and keep blood vessels more compliant and elastic. Cardio exercises for seniors help to prevent blood clots inside blood vessels thus reducing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Weight management and reduced metabolism is yet another problem faced by most seniors. While reducing your calorie intake may be good, you surely need to have essential nutrients to be healthy. Following a nutritious, balanced diet plan and incorporating exercises is a great way to maintain health and manage weight. Cardio exercise for seniors is a great way to lose weight as it helps to burn the excess fat. With better oxygenation, your digestion improves, which can also boost your metabolism. Thus, weight management does not remain a problem when you have adopted the cardio exercises for seniors.
Even if you are overweight or have joint problems, swimming and aqua exercises can be easily performed. However, if you have respiratory problems or any other concerns, it is advisable to seek medical opinion before beginning with cardio exercises in water.
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