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10 Physical Training Tips for Seniors

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By Amanda Morgan
As the body ages it is important to keep it in tiptop shape. Muscle loss and bone weakness are common side effects of aging. One of the easiest ways to fight against it is to participate in physical training. Physical training can be done by people of all ages if done under the proper conditions and at the correct level for the individual. Check out these 10 ways to properly incorporate physical training into everyday life and say goodbye to the signs of aging.

1) Stretch

Before and after every workout it is important to stretch. Warming up and cooling down should take at least 10 minutes each. Stretching helps to release tension in the muscles and overall helps the body to relax. Relaxed muscles are more flexible and have an increased range of motion predominately in the arms and legs. Stretching does not only have to be done before physical training and should be done two to three times a week. A weekly routine of stretching has been known to gradually combat the effects of aging, such as the stiffer muscles and smaller ranges of motion.

Some important tips to follow when stretching are to maintain a steady breathing pattern and to be gentle when moving. If pain does occur when moving into any position, stop immediately.

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2 ) Get the right equipment

The tools used during physical fitness can make or break how efficient the workout is. The right equipment starts with clothes. Sneakers are very important pieces of equipment during workouts. One of the most common injuries when working out comes from twisted ankles. By having proper support, the chance of injury sufficiently decreases and cause less strain on the body. There are sneakers for all types of activities and physical training. From running sneakers to tennis sneakers, there are so many types to choose from. When in doubt pick a shoe that has ankle support, arch support, and are a comfortable weight.

Physical training sometimes requires other tools such as weights or exercise balls to be used. Pick equipment that is easy and comfortable to use. The right equipment will decrease the risk of injury.

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3 ) Drink Water

Water is very important to the human body. About 60% of the human body is made of water and it is critical for mobility and flexibility. A workout will go much smoother if the person is drinking a proper amount of water. When a person participates in physical training, the body is at risk of becoming dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to many health problems in the future. To prevent this from occurring it is important to drink water while training. Most people make the mistake of waiting until they are thirsty before drinking. Dry mouth is one of the first signs of dehydration and means that the body is craving water. Instead of waiting until the symptoms appear, water should be constantly consumed. walk-730x350

4 ) Walk before you Run

Walking is one of the easiest way to get exercise. People who do not engage in physical activity every day will experience more muscle loss, and lowered aerobic capacity than people who do. Walking has been known to reduce the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and high blood pressure. This is a terrific starting point for people who have never participated in physical training. Walking also can be used as a warm up before more demanding activity.

If walking is enjoyable consider speeding it up and engaging in a light jog or run. Be careful however because people tend to push themselves the most when running. Slowly adjust to running long distances by switching between walking and running. Gradually, increase the amount of time running and lower the amount of time walking.

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5 ) Strength Training Workouts

One of the biggest changes people notice as they age is muscle lost. This prevalent muscle lost typically occurs in most people after the age of 50. Between 50 and 70 years old, people will lose close to 30% of their muscle mass. Strength training is an easy way to prevent muscle loss. Two of the most common workouts used for strength training are isometric exercise and progressive resistance exercise. Isometric exercise is when a person tenses their muscles without movement. Progressive resistance exercise is when people uses equipment such as free weights. Both types of physical training can be effective if done safely and correctly. One important tip is to start off using lighter weights and gradually increase the weight. Also never workout the same muscle group two days in a row. It is important to let the body rest and recover. flex-730x350

6 ) Flexibility

As the body gets older, muscles lose their ability to stretch as far and overall flexibility decreases. This decrease in flexibility has a significant impact on everyday activities from the ability to grab food off the top shelf to being able to bend down. Flexibility exercises focus on increasing a person’s range of motion and bringing elasticity back into the muscles.

Flexibility exercises should focus on all parts of the body. Most often, these exercises are stretches that help to reduce tension in the muscles throughout the body. By gradually stretching these muscles, they will become less stiff. Never force a movement when completing these exercises and only do moves that feel comfortable. A recent study titled “The effect of duration of stretching of the hamstring muscle group for increasing range of motion in people aged 65 years or older” conducted in 2001 shows that stretching is most effective when done in 60 second intervals.

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7 ) Be Productive

It is hard to find the motivation to go to the gym; there is always too much to do and too little time. Although physical training is a time commitment, this time can also be used to get other things accomplished. Walking and running are examples of low endurance workouts that allow for the participant to do other tasks. During these exercises, people can listen to audio books or watch television if using a treadmill. Instead of accomplishing only one thing, two things (working out and reading) can be accomplished.

If you are a pet owner, get the best of both worlds by taking your pet outside and getting the exercise you need. Dogs love to go outside and run around. During this time, you can join your pet in their run and kill two birds with one stone. Physical training does not have to cut into your day and can be productive.

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8 ) Listen to your Body

Most of the time your body knows what is best. It knows when it is hurt and when you have gone too far. When you are doing exercise one of the best things you can do is listen when your body says you have pushed it too far. The first few times you do an exercise it is normal to feel a little sore because you will be using muscles you have never used before. It is important to recognize the difference between an ache and a pain. If something does happen that causes pain, do not be afraid to see your doctor and get it checked out. It always better to be safe than sorry.

If you feel like you are straining your body too much, look for modifications that can be made to the workout. One of the more common adjustments people make is to use lighter weights or no weights at all. Also consider doing some of the exercises in water as that may alleviate the stress on your body.

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9 ) Check the Weather

Some people find that a change in weather often leads to pain in the joints. Although it is not scientifically proven, it is believed that this pain may be due to a change in air pressure. Air pressure tends to drop when the weather gets bad and this drop may cause the pain. Always take into consideration the weather and its impact on your body. If frequent changes in the weather play havoc on your body, then take that into consideration before working out. The most important rule when working out is to make sure you are comfortable. If something doesn’t feel right, then do not attempt to do it. This includes stopping when the weather gets in the way. schedule-730x350

10 ) Make a Schedule

A lack of motivation seems to be the biggest deterrent in people. It’s very easy to say that every Tuesday and Thursday a portion of the day will be dedicated to physical activity but it is hard to follow through. Life always seems to get in the way and there is always something else that needs to get done. Physical training is beneficially not only for physical health but also mental health. Studies have shown that exercise can reduce stress and anxiety. It is important that every person sets aside time for themselves to exercise and focus on themselves.

Making a schedule where physical training is penciled in helps to ensure that there is time to workout. Consider contacting some friends to workout with. When a person feels accountable for an action they are more likely to do it. Friends are the perfect way to be held accountable for working out.

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