As one grows older, the muscles in the body shorten, bones become brittle and coordination and balance also weaken. Having been in use for so many years, often with little care, the body begins to wear down and become more vulnerable to disease, illnesses and injury. This is why the elderly slowly become increasingly inactive. Caregiving experts at Ashton House, a leading nursing home in Crawley, explain that when the body begins to limit your physical abilities, it is not a sign to reduce physical activity, rather to find new ways of staying active comfortably.
While Physical activity must continue, one also needs to be careful not to overexert. Therefore, an exercise regime for the elderly must take into consideration the extent that an individual’s body allows.
As the body begins to degenerate faster in the later years of a person’s life, physical exercises help to slow down the process and are important for both physical and mental wellbeing. Read on to find out how physical activity helps the elderly.
Benefits of Exercising for Older People
Many of the nursing homes in Crawley, Burgess Hills and Brighton like Ashton House Residential and Nursing Home are increasingly including exercise as part of the daily routine for the elderly. This is due to the several benefits:
Mobility: As the muscles begin to shorten with age, mobility gets impacted and this impacts the reach of the limbs. This shortening can be prevented or at least slowed with regular stretching exercises. Stretching routines not only lengthen the muscles, but also improve joint movement. Mobility in the body of an elderly is also limited by weakened bones, which are more prone to fractures. Regular exercises can keep a check on bone density, thus preventing health problems such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
Heart Health: Doctors at a nursing home in West Sussex say that they include physical exercise in their daily routines for residents, especially for those who suffer from ailments of the heart. Like all other muscles, the heart muscles also begin to weaken with age. Light exercises can improve the heart rate, which makes use of the pumping muscles, keeping them active and strong. When the heart beats faster, it pumps blood through the arteries faster. This reduces the risk of blockage, which is common in old age. Cardio training can also minimize the risk of common infections and blood cholesterol.
Mental Health: When the body performs a physically exerting activity, endorphins are released. Endorphin is a hormone that enhances your mood and makes you feel good. The degeneration of the body is not limited to muscles and bones. It affects the brain as well. The elderly can feel more upbeat and happy with regular exercise. Nursing homes in Brighton and Burgess Hills suggest taking patients with dementia out for walks every now and then, to calm their nerves and channelize their energy in a productive activity.
Healing: According to American Seniors Community, regular physical activity can reduce the time it takes for a wound to heal by 25%.
If your limbs do not allow you to perform physical activity while standing, you can try alternatives such as water aerobics. Just remember that you are not as much limited by your body as you are by your mind.