Aerobic exercises for seniors are a trend these days. It is an exercise that will benefit an elderly person’s cardiovascular system through a moderate intensity routine, for a long period of time. Depending on the impact, rest breaks involved, and tolerance of the senior, it can be longer or less. But it is vital for the improvement of circulation and breathing.
But there are misconceptions about aerobic exercises for seniors. Especially if they are in their advanced ages. Some don’t participate in simple exercises such as brisk walking, cycling, jogging, dance classes from sedentary lifestyles, and thinking that maybe exercising is only when they are in their prime.
The recommendation from the WHO about doing physical activity for people ages 65 years old and older includes at least 150 min of aerobic activity in a moderately intense manner, or at least 75 min of an equivalent combination or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or per week. And aerobic exercises can be done at least 10 minutes per day.
Benefits of Aerobic Exercises in Seniors
Keeps Your Weight at Bay
As one of the beneficial effects of doing aerobic exercises is combining it with a healthy diet.
A study in 2017 evaluated obese older adults with sedentary lifestyles was given aerobic training, resistance training (check more here) and a strict diet has been proven effective with weight loss and function.
Manage Chronic Conditions
It is a fact that regular exercise can help you manage chronic disease symptoms. It is also the leading cause of death in all age groups, especially in seniors.
It is said that the number mortality increases because of individuals being physically inactive. According to the Mayo Clinic, aerobic exercises can help you improve your heart health and endurance.
Improvement in heart health will be noticeable with tests, evaluation from your doctor, and the ability to tolerate activities for a long period of time without shortness of breath, or extensive fatigue. This is due to increased blood flow all over the body while doing aerobic exercises, and keeping your heart pumping.
Asides from heart health and endurance, type 2 diabetics report improvement in overall insulin positivity and sensitivity altered the enzymes and proteins of skeletal muscle that are basically associated with the signalling of insulin and also the metabolism of glucose. Making exercises, especially daily, as part of their medical management program.
Chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s also benefit from aerobic exercises. As assessed in one study in 2016, using treadmill walking exercises improved quality of life, inflammation that’s occurring on the brain as a result of the disease, and psychological well-being (anxiety, depression, and mood state)
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Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Inclined with the improvement of heart health, aerobic exercises help with increasing good cholesterol (HDL), and reduce bad cholesterol (LDL). Leon and Sanchez conducted a study of 51 interventions involving 12 weeks or more of aerobic exercise. The studies revealed that a 4.6% increase in HDL cholesterol is seen and a 5% fall in LDL cholesterol.
By lowering bad cholesterol, it can also help reduce triglyceride which are the stored fat cells from our diet, or poor lifestyle choices. Which can help with your weight management, and prevent clotting from fat accumulation or plaques on vessels, and better heart circulation especially in the arteries.
When we exercise, our bodies release hormones and chemicals like endorphins that are important to sustain the energy needed for that specific activity. Interaction with the brain receptors in your brain is done by the endorphins, which will help in reducing pain perception. This can also uplight your spirits, and feel fulfilled after the exercise.
From these hormones released, it can also help deal with pain. Endorphins help you cope with stress, deal with chronic pain, and boost esteem. This can be vital for seniors who are dealing with anxiety and depression as well. Moderate aerobic exercise may help attenuate negative emotions for seniors experiencing regulatory difficulties.
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Helps You Stay Active and Independent
Maintaining a routine of doing exercises daily, or every other day is essential to stay active and moving. Because as we get older, there are often times we neglect physical activity.
And that can lead us to dependence on your family members. Moreso, having a sedentary lifestyle can cause the development of heart disease and diabetes.
That’s why it was proven effective for patients with Alzheimer’s, and healthy adults to prevent dementia or memory loss.
Aerobic Exercises for Seniors
Brisk walking is one the simplest aerobic exercises that can be done daily. Especially if you have a dog or cat to walk with. Walking around the neighborhood in the morning will keep you active.
It can also be done if you have a treadmill, or at home while following a video on the internet about indoor walking exercises.
Walking can only increase your physical activity and loosen your stiff joints. It is not recommended if you want to lose weight. Just make sure you have water beside you, and take rests when you feel like you’ve worn yourself out. Some people also can also walk for short distances from pain, and that’s fine as well.
Jogging or Running
Another form of aerobic exercise is jogging or running. The only difference between walking, or brisk walking is that it involves energy and can be a good way to lose weight.
This can be done outside as well, or maybe you can join a senior’s jogging club, or on a treadmill with supervision at home.
Jogging or running involves a lot of pacing, and maintaining a certain pace without feeling exhausted in the end. It doesn’t even matter whether you want to go fast, or slow.
For as long as you listen to your body, you’ll be able to finish strong. Although symptoms like vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and extreme fatigue mean you have to stop and reassess yourself.
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It takes balance and awareness of surroundings to do cycling as an elderly. But if you have been cycling in your prime, it’s the best time to jump back!
Whether you’re still on training wheels or not, it can help you lose weight, and stay active. It’s also good for transportation, and you’ve also contributed to reducing the use of cars as modes of transportation.
Cycling can also be done at home with rehabilitation bikes you can see on our website. These are used by physical therapists mostly to improve the endurance of the lower extremities.
Other varieties of bikes are also available, especially the ergometer bike. They can be adjusted on how much load are you able to handle.
CDC qualifies gardening as an aerobic exercise. It can be a moderate aerobic exercise from activities that include the following: digging, hoeing, weeding, trimming, and raking.
This may be apart from the usual exercise routine, but depending on the amount of time spent, and activities, it qualifies to benefit older adult patients as physical activity.
Dancing is a form of aerobic exercise that fits well with seniors who are looking for a sense of belonging and having fun while exercising. It can help you build confidence in your self-image as well.
No matter what the dance class is about, if it keeps you moving and grooving for half an hour, then it’s a great exercise to increase your energy.
There is a growing trend of dance classes, that varies from salsa, rumba, and the most popular these days is what is called Zumba. It is an exercise created by Colombian dancer Alberto “Beto” Perez during the 90s.
It is an alternating fast and slow rhythm routine that uses Latin and international music for dance moves.
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There is a lot of variety to choose from when you want to do aerobics. But have you heard about water aerobics? It is a type of aerobic exercise that is done while submerged in a body of water.
This exercise is beneficial for older adults who are having problems with the joints while having arthritis. This can help offload the joints and promote mobility in these areas. These classes are conducted in a swimming complex with a group of people doing movements like in the gym. And sweat is not a problem with water aerobics!
Using floaters, lightweight foam dumbbells, and weights on the ankle are used for exercise to have a challenge. Other times, installed bikes submerged in water are present for spinning classes.
Precautions and Risks of Aerobic Exercises for Seniors
Doing aerobic exercises is easy, especially if the activity only contains a minimal amount of work from the senior. Oftentimes, we tend to exceed our limits just for the sake of exercising.
But it is important to ask your healthcare provider, or your physician whether the activity you’ve chosen is appropriate for your condition.
It is also important to do these exercises 2 hours after a meal. Especially if you are someone with comorbidities on the heart, blood sugar, or any ailments.
This will prevent the symptoms and signs that can occur like dizziness, nausea, and extreme fatigue.