Retirement is a time to relax, and indulge in leisure, hobbies, and do all the things you never had time for in earlier years of life.
However, ironically, the very same years in our lives when we can indulge, can also quite often be the same years where we are unable to do so due to the onset of frailty and age-related illnesses.
While exercise cannot reverse our biological clock, it can give us and our elderly relatives the best chance to stay healthier for longer – as well as to build resilience and stamina to offset some of the physical effects of ageing.
In this article, we will go through some low-risk activities that can help most people at retirement age and beyond get and stay fit and able to enjoy the twilight years…
Keeping those muscles strong!
Step one of exercise for the elderly involves weights, and, lifting them! According to Harvard Medical School, age-related muscle loss (known as sarcopenia) is natural and actually starts in late-youth (when one is around 30). On average, one can expect to lose between 3% to 5% of muscle mass per ten years1. Lower muscle mass will eventually lead to physical weakness, which can lead to frailty, as one’s bones and joints are less supported by muscle tissues that both power and support them. Some great old age exercises can be weight-lifting, with or without the guidance of a physiotherapist – but, as always, one must consult one’s GP before starting any new exercise regimen – and know one’s limits! The last thing anyone wants is a fractured wrist or joint or twisted muscle…
Even if one has difficulty standing unaided or has reduced mobility, stretching can help keep the entire musculoskeletal system strong and balanced and well maintained.
Further below are a few visual guides of some stretches, courtesy of the NHS:
At Paxton Hall Care Home, chair-based exercise sessions are conducted every 2 weeks by a qualified external tutor to help our elderly residents with their mobility and to encourage them to keep fit. In addition, the Music for Health sessions run once a month are equally beneficial for our elderly residents as they are encouraged to move and be more active.
Aerobics and Heart Rate
One of the most important parts of the exercise, as you get older, is to either start or continue an exercise regimen that raises your heart rate, this is a definition of what constitutes aerobic exercise. Some great ways to get the heart rate going include:
- Swimming and Water Aerobics
- Tennis and community football.
- Weightlifting as well as heavy gardening including pushing a lawnmower (also doesn’t use petrol!)
- Cycling, or using exercise bikes.
- Fast walking (defined as walking as, or almost as, fast as you can without breaking into a jog)
Keeping fit and healthy is important to all older people, and it’s deeply important to us at Paxton Hall! If you’re looking for respite care or residential care in Cambridge, get in touch today!
 https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/preserve-your-muscle-mass | Retrieved 11/08/19
Visual Stretching Exercises: https://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Documents/NHS_ExercisesForOlderPeople.pdf | Retrieved 11/08/19