Keep stretching those muscles, Grandpa!

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By Edzelle Peña

MANILA CITY, METRO MANILA — Old age is no longer an excuse to stop exercising. Several studies have proven that keeping an active lifestyle helps people ages 60 and up stay more alert, healthy and strong.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that about 28 to 34 percent of adults aged 65 to 74 and 35 to 44 percent of adults ages 75 or older are inactive due to fear of incurring injuries and fracturing bones.

But according to orthopedic surgeon, Joe Scott, who is also the team leader for Southcoast Hospitals Group in New Bedford, Mass, exercising actually decreases the loss of bone density among the elderly. He said routine exercises especially focused on strength training help keep the muscles strong. Similarly, Roy J. Shepard, member of University of Toronto’s faculty of medicine, reported that such a regimen is particularly effective when accompanied by a high calcium diet (1500 mg/day).

A post on NewScientist.com touched on a new research which showed that exercise in old age may rejuvenate brain functions. It revealed that older people especially those who have maintained an active lifestyle all their life do better in cognitive tests than those who were not.

Other reasons for seniors to exercise were given by the American Heart Association who said that increased levels of physical activity could reduce the chances of acquiring coronary heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, depression, osteoporosis and anxiety.

But of course, safety is always a big consideration when choosing exercises fit for the elderly. Compared to the regular routines of younger people, exercises for seniors should be more moderate and simple.

MedlinePlus divided these types of exercises into four major categories. First are endurance activities which help improve their “staying power”. These include activities such as walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike. Next are strengthening exercises which build muscle tissues. Third and fourth types are stretching and balance exercises.

In her article posted on Associatedcontent.com, writer Heide Lynn Canlas provided some examples of safe and very simple exercises for the elderly. These are walking around the park, doing household chores, dancing, stretching, and doing breathing exercises like Yoga and Tai Chi.

Ehow.com also has some simple muscle strengthening routines that can be easily done at home: wall pushups, chair squats, chair sit-ups, weights, and using exercise bands. You can also try these mobility and back exercises from Buzzle.com.

Data according to a journal from American Family Physician prescribe a five to ten-minute warm-up to reduce the risk of hypertension and other cardiovascular complications. Before engaging in any exercise program, it is recommended to seek your doctor’s advice first. Also, always have someone, whether a friend or family member, assist you.

Being able to avoid chronic diseases and simply feeling better is well worth 30 minutes of each day, so Grandma and Grandpa, keep stretching those muscles!


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