The COVID-19 pandemic has meant millions of people around the world are adjusting to life indoors. Encouraging or mandating that people should remain within their homes with discontinued daily life activities may unintentionally increase sedentary behavior, decrease general physical activity, and inflict negative health consequences. A sedentary behavior with high levels of sitting time and low levels of physical activity are associated with decreased cardio pulmonary fitness, muscle atrophy, insulin sensitivity and deleterious effects on mood.
Your exercise and walking routine might be affected or you might not feel comfortable going out, that doesn’t mean you should stop sweating. In fact, working out might be one of the best ways you can pass time while you’re self-quarantined. Continuing to exercise and maintain fitness is crucial during this hard time.
Particularly, physical activity during aging may have positive effects on the adaptive immune system. It helps us to maintain the bone and muscle strength. It encourages the metabolism and digestive health. Physical activity also has a major role in mental health and cognitive function because exercise has positive effects in preventing and alleviating depressive symptoms, lessening anxiety, improving learning, and is beneficial for cognitive functioning in older adults.
Even with the restrictions of limited space or lack of special equipment, reaching the WHO recommendations of 150 min of moderate-intensity or 75 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week is still achievable even at home during self-isolation. For additional health benefits, 300 min of moderate-intensity or 150 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week is recommended. A combination of muscle-strengthening exercises for the major muscle groups, walking, stair climbing, and performing household tasks, is recommended to maintain physical activity during the corona virus crisis.
To increase motivation for physical activity, internet-delivered interventions through the computer or mobile phone, or self-monitoring through diaries or phone apps, are viable tools for exercise motivation. Also, one can follow an online exercise class, available on different media platforms. While exercise is safe for most individuals, the elderly and those who are susceptible to cardiovascular or other complications should consult health providers before starting a new exercise regime.
Viji Balaji Masters in physiotherapy,Msc psychology
We all know that the skeletal system is the structural framework of your body giving us the shape and the posture. The bone, like any other tissue undergoes the cycle of breaking down and being replaced by new tissue. However as we age this balance is often disrupted and the breaking down weighs more than the replacement resulting in a condition termed as OSTEOPOROSIS.
How common is Osteoporosis?
Over 61 million Indians have osteoporosis and over 80% are women!
After the age of 30, we start losing the bone density. In fact women will lose up to 20% of bone density in 5-7 years after menopause. And by 65 men and women lose bone density at the same rate.
How serious is the problem?
Loss of bone density sometimes causes life-threatening or life changing fractures of spine or hip. Sometimes the fracture in the spine will not have a fall behind it ,instead the bone just crumples resulting in pain, stooped posture and lose of height. Osteoporosis is the single most common cause of fracture in the elderly population. Worldwide, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually, resulting in an osteoporotic fracture every 3 sec.
However there is a good news! We can prevent or delay the onset of osteoporosis by proper & regular exercises.
THE BEST BONE BUILDING EXERCISES
1.Weight Bearing exercise: Exercises that include activities that make you move against gravity while staying upright are weight bearing exercises.
2.Strength training exercises: Activities where you move your body, weight or some resistance against gravity are strength training exercises.
Weight Bearing Exercise and Bone Density:
Numerous studies have shown that weight-bearing exercise can help to slow bone loss, and several show it can even build bone. Bone responds to the forces applied to it. This includes the force generated by the muscles/tendon or against gravity. Such activities that put stress on bones stimulate extra deposits of calcium and nudge bone-forming cells into action. The result is stronger, denser bones. When you walk, run, hop, and skip, you are pushing against gravity in order to move. The impact of your every step sends a signal to bone to grow stronger to help keep you moving.
What are the types of weight bearing exercises?
Weight bearing exercise can be low impact as in low impact aerobics, elliptical trainer, fast walking or high impact as in jumping, skipping, running, high impact aerobics, tennis. While the high impact exercises help build the bone it is not advisable for elderly with known history osteoporosis. Low impact exercises also help in building the bones and muscles.
What should be avoided if you have osteoporosis?
A person with osteoporosis has weakened bones that are prone to fracturing. They should avoid activities that:
involve loaded forward flexion of the spine such as abdominal sit-ups
increase the risk of falling
require sudden, forceful movement, unless introduced gradually as part of a progressive program
require a forceful twisting motion, such as a golf swing, unless the person is accustomed to such movements.
Regular exercise program is an essential part of Osteoporosis treatment. The impact of the exercises on the bone density is time and again proved by many researchers. However, it is strongly recommended to get the right advice on starting an exercise schedule from your doctor or physiotherapist before you start.
Masters in Physiotherapy, Wellness Coach for Seniors
Mrs.Shailaja Pradeep Ganguly took up a trial class with Growing Young and that one hour of interaction was enough for her to trust us and join us! She has taught journalism & creative writing at Sophia College Open Classroom. She was on the General Body and preliminary selection committee of international films for children & young adults for the childrens’s film society. She has also produced Air India’s in flight India music for almost 7 years.Currently Mrs.Shailaja edits, translates ,writes & creates videos for Sri Chitrapur Math.Despite her packed schedule, she has always ensured to be regular to the sessions.She is truly an inspiring personality who has never stopped dreaming. Mrs.Shailaja has recently completed her intensive theatre workshop in acting with actor Neeraj Kabi, so rightly proving that 60 is just a milestone to unleash your creativity. Here she shares a little about herself and also her experience with us!
I, Me , Myself
From an ignorant age when I thought that a female writer is called a ‘writeress’, I knew this is what I wanted to be. A guardian angel must have said “tathaastu” for my attempts at word craft, whether it was on paper or orally on stage, started bringing in laurels even before I passed out of school. I was declared Best Student of the college too and after a tiny bout of teaching began my real affair with the print medium when I joined the Times of India, Mumbai as a sub-editor with FEMINA. That was an exciting time because feminism was just touching Indian shores and FEMINA was telling every woman that she had the right to explore her individual potential and talent even as she balanced her roles as wife, daughter-in-law and mother. Alongside, I also taught creative writing in a long weekly session at a reputed College.
When I became Deputy Editor, I began to create and present many interesting programmes for both Akashvani and black and white television on personalities, social and medical issues and the creative and performing arts. I also began anchoring programmes of classical music and dance and have held the mike for India’s finest vocal and instrumental artistes and crème de la crème dancers. My interest in physical fitness was rather rudely awakened by the cervical pain which began to bother me because of long hours at the typewriter in an air-conditioned office. When the topmost orthopaedic in town told me this was spondylitis and that I now had to be careful for life and would possibly have sudden ‘blackouts’, I knew it was time to take stock.
Being an anti-pill person I learnt some physiotherapic moves from a friend in a Sports-hospital and also joined yoga classes. I was soon off the collar and have never had a blackout till date. After shifting homes, while I continued with my daily yoga at home and with all other activities outside, I had to go freelance and become a care-giver for my husband who had developed certain physical disabilities. In that period, for several years I produced Air-India’s in-flight music for which I was script-writer and female anchor, under contract with HMV.
The pandemic year brought me three awards and a welcome introduction to ‘Growing Young’. I was declared Woman Icon of Navi Mumbai, felicitated for my achievements in Journalism and Creative Writing and given a prize for the best write-up on learning a skill in 2020 by a Senior-Citizen Welfare Group -Unmukt, Delhi. I still write, edit, anchor, but I was feeling an acute need to join an exercise group for a regular work-out. That is when, like a karmic signal, Growing Young suddenly popped out of a Facebook ad, I attended the free session and now, here I am, enjoying every minute of it !
Cheerful faces, welcome smiles, warm greetings….Sunandha and Viji- the two fitness Gurus of ‘Growing Young’ definitely project both the exuberance and confidence which convince a new entrant that he or she has reached the right take-off point to get swift results from the resolution to work towards a more ‘obedient’ body.
In the hour that follows, the class is taken through four packed segments of expressing body language – through warm-ups, stretches using different aids like weights or a stick, aerobics, modified asanas and breathing techniques and to conclude – a little module of relaxation to leave you refreshed, rejuvenated and raring to go…
The best part of this pep-up routine is that one trainer watches every student as the other conducts the class. This ensures that each learner’s posture for a particular movement is perfect and also enables the instructor to tell anyone who is getting over-tired to take a tiny breather.
The bouquet of grateful “Thank-you”-s that appears on Whatsapp after every class is proof enough that this dynamic duo is destined to go places!
Regular exercise is crucial for leading an active, healthy, independent and happy life. When we think about exercise, the first thing that comes to our mind is going for a walk or the standing routines. However, for many elderly this could be a challenge for various reasons like limited mobility, arthritic pain, loss of balance or a recent surgery. Because of this, most of the seniors hesitate to exercise and even in those who start there is a poor compliance. But what if you could be active while still sitting? Chair exercises are a boon for seniors. Chair exercises prove to be vital in giving our body the much needed benefits and at the same time preventing any further injuries.
Now the next question arise, can you get fit from your seat? Yes, indeed, chair based exercises prove to be a great blessing for seniors especially for those with limited mobility, balance issues and joint issues. For an older adult, in a dilemma between preventing the pain and the pain due to exercise, chair exercises are the best solution. Believe it or not, chair exercises are a great way to incorporate low impact movement into your daily routine without any fear of falling or injuring the joints. Just because it is seated does not mean that you won’t sweat! They allow older adults who otherwise would not be able to exercise consistently to improve their strength, cardiovascular fitness, and mobility—without the high risk of injury present during traditional exercise routines. Seated exercises are gentler on the joints and will reduce pain, not add to it.
Benefit of chair exercises:
Chair exercise encompasses far more than just movements. Chair exercises offer all the benefits of standing routine without any risk. It improves the joint range of movement and increases flexibility, strengthens and stabilizes muscles, reduces joint pain and stiffness, improves heart and lung health, boosts your mood and lowers stress levels. Improving the muscle strength and joint flexibility would indirectly contribute to improved balance as well. Thus an overall improvement in health and fitness can be observed.
Improvement in balance, gait speed, grip strength and several other physical measurements has been documented in individuals who engaged in chair based exercise. These findings further prove that it is particularly important for those who are currently inactive, and as such, chair-based exercise can be promoted as a safe and progressive mode of activity for those who may be frail or deconditioned.
How are chair based exercises better than the standing routines?
The major benefit of chair exercises is the reduced risk of falling.
Chair exercises are equally challenging to the upper body and abdominal muscles compared to standing routine.
Chair exercises minimizes load bearing on the joints and hence less pressure on the weak and painful joints.
It increases the confidence in those unable to perform free standing exercises.
When to consider chair-based exercises?
Chair Based exercises are beneficial for those with
Poor balance, and a higher risk of falling during exercise
Joint pain that makes standing painful and difficult
Limited range of motion or poor mobility
Recovering from a surgery or an injury
Beginning a routine and need to start slow and work up to standing exercises
What type of exercises can be done in sitting?
It is very important to incorporate the three types- cardiovascular, flexibility and strengthening exercises in your routine.
Cardiovascular- Getting tired on walking for a distance? Panting while climbing a few stairs. This is a common experience by most of the elderly and the culprit is poor cardiovascular-pulmonary health. Chair aerobics can effectively increase your heart rate and endurance which makes your everyday routines easier.
Strengthening- Unable to carry your grocery bag home? Unable to walk for longer distance? The reason could be weakened muscles. You can exercise using dumbbells, Thera bands, weighted cuffs or even isometric exercises in sitting for upper extremity and lower extremity can help you. Core strengthening exercises play a major role in keeping the back pain under control and also improve balance. These exercises can be comfortably done in sitting.
Flexibility: Flexibility exercises help enhance your range of motion, prevent injury, and reduce pain and stiffness. These may include stretching exercises.
How to start Chair Exercises?
Ready to get started with seated exercise? All you need is a chair, a positive attitude and a strong desire to stay healthy!
Pick out a good chair. It should be a sturdy chair with a straight back . Don’t use the rolling chairs. A wooden chair is a good option.
Keeping your body agile remains a cornerstone in healthy and graceful ageing. Now that we know, there is a way to exercise keeping the pains, imbalance and limited mobility at bay, there is no real excuse to offer to miss exercising. Regular physical exercise is the key to staying fit even during old age. Chair exercises allow seniors to easily perform workout routines, despite their weakened physical strength.
Masters in Physiotherapy, Wellness Coach for Seniors
I’m Savithri Natarajan,a retired teacher, living in Mumbai. I have four grand children. I dislike being idle even for a minute. Since the cooking is done by my daughter’s in law, I don’t have much to do around the house. Reading is my passion. Stitching is a very engaging activity I involve myself in for at least three hours everyday. My grandchildren provide me with plenty of diversion each day.
I’ve been active always. Since I worked as a commissioned NCC officer exercise has always been a part of my days. After four years of working as tutor in English in holy cross college Trichy, I got married and started life anew in Mumbai.
I started working as a lecturer in a junior college in Mumbai. Local train travel is a part of all working people In Mumbai, which means climbing 55 stairs ten times (changing trains) everyday and running (literally) to catch trains. Apart from the house work, college work and taking care of my children, I committed myself to 20 to 30 minutes yoga and half an hour’s walk everyday.
After I lost my husband I lost interest in everything. Stopped exercise, stopped taking medicines and even stopped reading. When I was going through a ‘what is the use of’ mind set andI had lost interest in all activities. The Covid lockdown added to the depression. There seemed to be only darkness even at the end of the tunnel.
My son and daughter-in-law (who is a close friend of Viji Balaji and Sunandha Sampath ) insisted that I should join their ‘Growing Young’ online fitness program for senior citizens. I had already attended their In-Person classes conducted for senior citizens at Purva Panorama Apartment, Bangalore. That was a totally different league. I was mentally on top of the world. The ladies in the group were all friends and the classes were an occasion to meet all my friends at the same place and the exercises were fun.
So I was doubtful about online classes. How can one do exercise online? But my children wouldn’t let me sit back. So I joined the classes.
Sunandha and Viji are wonderful, caring task masters. They know what they are doing. During the online session, they check what we do and call out the corrections. They ensure that we do the exercises in the correct way. Seemingly simple exercises! But before long, I noticed that I was getting more flexible.
I am a patient of rheumatoid arthritis. I used it as an excuse to avoid sitting on the floor, squatting and standing for a long time. After several sessions, I noticed that I could stand for longer periods, I could squat and do other things I thought I’ll never be able to do. There is a sense of well being and enthusiasm to exercise. And these classes inspired me to start my exercise routine again.
Thanks to these two enthusiastic youngsters I’m back on track. Daily exercise has become a part of my days. And online classes are fun. We focus on ourselves without any distractions. No looking at your neighbour to see how she is doing. The classes are a boon to me. I wish Sunandha and Viji more and more success in their efforts to make senior citizens young. Long live Growing Young Online Fitness Program For Seniors!
Exercise is an important part of nearly everyone’s everyday health. This is true for older adults, too. Experts say seniors should aim to be as active as possible. If you are an older adult, exercise can help you live a longer, healthier life.
It is safe for most adults older than 65 years of age to exercise. Even patients who have chronic illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis can exercise safely. In fact, many of these conditions are improved with exercise. If you are not sure if exercise is safe for you or if you are currently inactive, ask your doctor.
Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that result in energy expenditure. Physical activity encompasses exercise, sports, and physical activities performed as part of daily living, occupation, leisure, or active transportation.Exercise is a subcategory of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive and that has as a final or intermediate objective for improvement or maintenance of physical fitness.
Physical activity is a protective factor for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer and physical activity is associated with improved mental health, delay in the onset of dementia, and improved quality of life and wellbeing.
You Can Stop the Clock
Despite all the anti-aging products pushed on us, it’s inevitable that we will get older. However, some of the things we lose as we age can actually be prevented by doing following exercises.
Aerobic and Endurance Exercises
Strength and Resistance Training
Using a resistance band
Doing body-weight exercises
Stretching and Flexibility Exercises
Standing on one foot.
Balance retraining exercises
How often should I exercise?
According to WHO, Seniors aged 65 and older should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) every week. That averages out to about 30 minutes on most days of the week. Or you should get 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise (such as jogging) each week. You should also do strength training at least 2 days a week. You can work on balance and flexibility every day.
Over -exercising can lead to exhaustion and injury that can take longer to heal for older adults. So, seniors should take precautions to not over exercise which can result in negative outcomes.
Tips to do Exercise
Clothing – Wear loose, comfortable clothing and well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Your shoes should have good arch support, and an elevated and cushioned heel to absorb shock. Make sure the shoes are made for the type of physical activity you’ll be using them for. Shoes are specially designed for walking, running, tennis, or dancing, for example.
Pace yourself -If you are not already active, begin slowly. Start with exercises that you are already comfortable doing. Starting slowly makes it less likely that you will injure yourself. Starting slowly also helps prevent soreness.
Wait to exercise -Exercise is only good for you if you are feeling well. Wait to exercise until you feel better if you have a cold, the flu or another illness. If you miss exercise for more than 2 weeks, be sure to start slowly again
Stay Hydrated – Replenish your body’s fluids following a workout by drinking plenty of water.
Professional Guidance – Exercise classes in group settings that are supervised by trained professionals are ideal for those with specific limitations. Professionals can offer real-time modifications of each move, and they can develop and/or recommend entire regimens for specific improvements despite one’s unique challenges.
Masters in Physiotherapy Co founder,Growing Young Seniors wellness coach
We all age; what matters most is how we age! Every one aspires to be independent for a lifetime, and to be so we believe that exercise is the best way. It’s an best anti-ageing medicine that can make us to grow young again.
About the Founders
The founders of Growing Young, Sunandha & Viji are both Post Graduate Physiotherapists and have 18+ years of experience each,treating Senior citizens for varied physical ailments. We saw many seniors with varying degree of independence and activity. We understood the strong correlation between physical activity and independence. However , what lacked was the right guidance to exercise, and thus, we embarked on a new journey- GROWING YOUNG- Fitness Program for Seniors. We strongly believe that “Active ageing is healthy ageing”. We wanted to create a stronger senior community and the magic is regular, systematic exercise program. What started in a small way in 2016, has taken giant strides over the years with our relentless passion driving us in every possible way. We take pride in saying that we touched upon more than 1000+ seniors and addressed more than 25+ forums.
Why do we need a fitness program for seniors?
It is now obvious to a myriad of people that we can stay healthy, improve our lifestyle and live longer if we exercise regularly. However, research says that only ¼ of the geriatric population, meet the exercise recommendations of the WHO . It is at this stage of life, more important than ever to exercise and stay active. People fail to understand, that it is never too late to start exercising even if you have never exercised in your life. By exercising in the right way, our elderly population can combat most of the health problems that is because of ageing. All they need is a little motivation and guidance to exercise and that is what we at Growing Young give them.
Growing Young-Fitness Program:
It is comprehensive and provides holistic wellness to our clients. The program is customized based on the current ailments of our clients and addressing the same effectively.
We take an individual assessment to understand their current functional and physical fitness levels before we enroll them in our program. This enables us to provide the right suggestions and guidance to our clients.
Each of our sessions will be monitored to ensure that the exercises are done in the right way.
All our sessions are different from each other, breaking the monotony and kindling the interest to consistently exercise.
The Program includes all kinds of exercises meeting the needs of different regions of the body- bones, joints, muscles, brain, heart, lungs and even the mind.
We also send Home Exercise Program videos to our clients to ensure that a routine is followed and exercise becomes a part of their schedule.
Meet our happy clients:
Ageing is inevitable but physical frailty is not and we have witnessed this in our clients who have been consistently exercising with us.
All our clients enjoy this journey towards a healthy life with us and have benefitted the most.
How to join Growing Young ?
Attend our free trial class and if you are interested to enroll, you will be evaluated by qualified medical professional who will also guide you further.
Reach us at +91 97399 32220/+91 97312 59988 to BOOK YOUR FREE TRIAL CLASS
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. Consider 60 years as a milestone to give wings to your passion, unleash your creativity and pursue your fitness goals. The world is there waiting for you to conquer! Let’s make the best use of the golden years and give the best!
Did you know that while standing, staying upright and walking may look a simple act, at the background our body systems have to perform a complex integration to make it into a successful action! The fear of fall is the main reason cited by seniors for limited mobility and independence. Studies have proved that exercises to improve balance can reduce the rate of fall by 36% in our elderly population.
How do we manage to balance?
Balance is all about maintaining our Centre of gravity over the base of support! And to achieve this, we need 3 systems to work together:
Sensory input from the eyes
Sensory input from the ears i.e the vestibular apparatus
Sensory input from the muscles and joints
The input from all these three sources are integrated in our cerebellum and the command is passed to the muscles to stay upright.
Why does balance reduce as we age?
When the sensory input from any of the three systems is affected or there is a decline in the function of the cerebellum or the muscles are weak to respond to the command from the brain, balance gets affected.
However, the most common reason is, NOT CHALLENGING THE SYSTEM ENOUGH! If poor balance is associated only with old age, then all seniors will have balance problem. However, we see many seniors taking up a sport/ dance after they age. If we don’t regularly put ourself in situations where we need to use balance, our sense of balance diminishes with disuse. As we age, there is a drastic reduction in the physical activity, which reduces the challenges that is posed on the system and over a period of time, there is a gradual decline in the balance.
Can we regain the balance?
The answer is YES, improving the upper and lower body strength along with challenging the balance system daily with activities that require the use of all the three systems will improve balance to a great extent.
Some quick tips to do balance activity at home:
Check with the doctor, if there is a more serious balance problem like vertigo, ear infections, chronic dizziness, Meniere’s disease or drug interactions.
Get the advice of a physiotherapist to learn the exercises and do it the right way!
If you are very poorly balanced, ensure that a care giver is always next to you when you exercise.
Always use a sturdy chair for support. Initially hold with two hands, and when comfortable move to single hand support and then with fingers and slowly remove your hand from the chair.
Avoid fast movements.
Be aware of your posture.
As the base of support reduces the challenge also increases. Start with a wider base and slowly reduce the base of support.
Progress the exercises, when the previous exercise becomes comfortable and you are confident of doing it without assistance.
Begin the training with eyes open, and gradually progress with eyes closed as it is more challenging.
If you are under any medications, ask the doctor if there are any side effects which may cause light headedness or decreased balance.
Start slowly and become used to the new experience of stressing the balance system. Our body follows a simple mantra, “Use it or lose it”. Doing balance exercises regularly, has many benefits like, reducing the risk of fall, more independence, involving in activities we love, better reaction time, increased coordination and many more.
Don’t take your balance for granted! Challenge your body and regain the balance and a much deserved independence!
Ageing, a beautiful period of our human life, poses some unique challenges. Due to several reasons like lack of independence, frailty, illness, separation, isolation, and simply due to their age, among other reasons, older people are at disproportionately higher risk of suffering from mental health problems.
It is estimated that more than 20%, aged 60 and above have some mental health problem, especially depression, anxiety and other psychological problems, which results in severe disability and severe reduction in quality of life.
What is further noteworthy for all age groups, but especially so for the older adults, is that physical health has an impact on mental health just like mental health has an impact on physical health. Therefore, along with a continued focus on extending their life expectancy, it is also necessary to understand the strategies to maintain sound mental health and wellbeing in older adults.
In Asian and non Asian countries, older adults who exercise regularly have lower rates of getting any kind of mental illness It is shown in multiple studies that people who exercise regularly, develop a new sense of identity with higher self esteem, sense of better well being and good quality of life. There are various hypothesis- physiological. psychological, inflammatory related to the effect of PA on mental health
Moreover, exercise also helps in treating anxiety and depression Physical activity is considered to be as effective a treatment as psychotherapy or medications. When exercise was used as a method of intervention, sleep quality improved significantly in the form of lesser time to sleep and more refreshing deep sleep.
Many people believe that with growing age, the exercise loses its effect. Hence, there is no need for elderly people to strain their bodies. Exercise benefits mental health at every age.
Benefits of physical activity in elders:
Helps you to sleep better
Helps to Maintain the Level of Chemicals in Brain which in turn helps in overall well being
Boosts energy level and fight fatigue
Makes you happier and boosts positivity by the release of happy hormones
Reduces the risk of developing dementia
Overall, multiple studies using various physical exercise intervention have uniformly shown that mental health substantially improves with adequate physical activity. So, why not you try it and take care of your mental health? Age can’t stop you!!
M.D (Psy) (NIMHANS) Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, PSG Institute of Medical Science and Research (PSG IMSR), Coimbatore
There are many old beliefs that could prevent older adults from taking advantage of the many benefits of remaining physically active. We are going to bust few myths surrounding exercise and the elderly in this article.
MYTH 1: TOO OLD TO EXERCISE
The loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) with age in humans is well documented. A primary factor in sarcopenia is disuse of skeletal muscle, resulting in atrophy. The consequences of sarcopenia can be extensive if you are inactive at this age. Experts assure us that seniors who have led a sedentary lifestyle can benefit from beginning a regular program of fitness activities, even if they start at age 65, 70, 80 or older.
MYTH 2: EXERCISE WILL LEAD TO JOINT PAIN AT THIS AGE
Studies show that exercising helps with arthritis pain. Doing daily flexibility exercises helps maintain essential range of motion. Stretching exercises for arthritis can be safely performed every day, but strengthening exercises should be limited to 3 days a week, include knee-strengthening exercises. Exercise increases our muscle mass, which reduces pain and improves function.
MTYH 3: EXERCISE AT THIS AGE CAN LEAD TO SUDDEN HEART ATTACK
The health benefits associated with exercise include favorable changes in lipid profile, blood pressure, and body composition. Aerobic training reduces resting blood pressure in hypertensive young persons; this effect has been noticed in older hypertensive adults as well.
MYTH 4: DISABLED ELDERS CANNOT EXERCISE
Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics, chair yoga. This will help increase range of motion, improve muscle tone and flexibility and promote cardiovascular health.
MYTH 5: WORKING PUZZLES IS THE BEST BRAIN EXERCISE
Mentally stimulating activities such as reading, crafts and puzzles all build connections in the brain that protect our thinking and memory. Yet experts say that exercising our bodies is most likely the top factor in maintaining brain health. “Good for the heart = good for the brain” is a motto to remember.
MYTH 6: GOING FOR A BRISK WALK EVERY DAY PRETTY MUCH COVERS MY EXERCISE NEEDS
Walking is a great way to exercise. But it’s only, we might say, the first step. A complete exercise program for seniors should include aerobic activities, muscle strengthening activities, such as lifting weights or using a resistance band; flexibility exercises such as stretches or yoga; and exercises that improve our sense of balance.
MYTH 7: I’M NOT FIT ENOUGH TO ATTEND AN EXERCISE CLASS!
Exercising at home is fine, but working out with others can be much more motivating. You will find exercise classes for seniors of every fitness level — including those who have never exercised before. There are modified exercise classes for older people.
Masters in Physiotherapy,Msc Psychology C0-Founder,Growing Young Senior wellness coach
The vaccines are finally here! But the big question is, how well prepared are our elderly to receive the vaccine?
Since the escalation of the COVID-19, over a billion people across the world have faced restrictions due to varying degree of confinement. This confinement has forced our seniors devoid of physical activity and increase in sedentary behaviour. Social Isolation has had a major impact on the mental health, incidence and progression of non-communicable diseases and lower immunity.
And since our elderly are already associated with a decline in normal functioning of the immune system described as ‘immunosenescence’, the effects are double-folded for this age group. This can contribute to poorer vaccine response and increased incidence of infection seen in older people.
According to researchers at the University of Bath, stay at home should not mean that people should stop exercising. Keeping up with regular, daily exercise will impact and play a vital role in helping maintain a healthy immune system, which will in turn work effectively following vaccination.
Having an active immune system to counter infections and to respond actively to vaccination is the need of the hour during this pandemic. And in general, it is widely accepted that exercise plays a key role in building immunity. It is proven that bouts of exercise enhance immune surveillance. The haemodynamic changes produced due to exercise facilitate the activation of immune response. While the immune system responds to single bout in a transitory way, it is likely that these effects accumulate over time and produce immunological adaptations. Regular exercise can enhance vaccination response increase T-cells and boost the function of the natural killer cells in the immune system. Also, our skeletal muscles are an important immune regulator which is activated by regular exercise specifically, strengthening exercise.
Regular moderate intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking, running or cycling is recommended, with the aim of achieving 150-300 minutes per week. Resistance exercise atleast twice a week, has clear benefits for maintaining muscles, which also helps movement. Given the current scenario, it is also important to maintain good personal hygiene while exercising.
In addition to getting MODERATE EXERCISE there are plenty of things you can do to boost your immunity and reduce your odds of getting sick and also be better prepared to receive the vaccine:
Get plenty of rest.
Eat healthy and balanced diet.
Get good sleep
Wear a mask
Practice good hand hygiene.
Maintain a safe physical distance between yourself and other people
So what are you waiting for? Move more, be active, stay fit, boost your immunity and wait for the vaccine to free us from the clutches of the pandemic!
Yes! Don’t stop exercising….It is more important NOW THAN EVER to stay active! Your immune system will thank you!