Senior Adults Should Focus on Fitness | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 20 September 2012 13:55
092012sen2About one-third of adults over the age of 65 experience at least one fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Muscle strength, reaction time and stability can also decline dramatically after the age of 50. With these age-related factors, it’s essential that senior adults remain active to maintain their mobility, prevent falls and make everyday tasks easier. Senior adults should focus on these four areas of exercise:

•  Endurance — The National Institute on Aging suggests that senior adults participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity that increases their heart rate, such as walking, jogging, biking, swimming or raking, every day. If you don’t have a 30-minute timeframe to spare, or if you’re just starting to exercise, you can break your workout into 10-minute increments.

•  Strength — It’s also essential that older adults continue working their muscles, so they can easily get up from a chair, climb stairs, carry groceries and perform other daily tasks. Senior adults should exercise their major muscle groups at least two days per week for 30 minutes.

•  Balance exercises can reduce the risk of falling. Standing on one foot and walking heel-to-toe can be done anytime.

•  Flexibility — Don’t forget to stretch, so you can continue to move freely and maintain your range of motion. Having and maintaining flexibility makes tying shoes, reaching items on a shelf and other actions easier. The NIA recommends that older adults stretch three to five times each workout session, slowly stretching to a position and holding it for 10 to 30 seconds.

Healthy Eating

Here are some tips for balanced meals from the United States Department of Agriculture:

Vegetables: There are many options to make sure you consume enough servings each day such as fresh or frozen vegetables, vegetable soup and canned vegetables labeled “low sodium” or “no salt added.”

Fruits offer essential nutrients, including potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folic acid. To incorporate more fruits into your diet, keep a bowl of fruit on the counter, purchase dried or frozen fruits, top your cereal with bananas, peaches, or strawberries, or toss some with a salad.

Whole grains, such as barley, popcorn, quinoa, pilaf, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and bulgur are good choices. When purchasing products, select options that include whole grain first on the ingredient list.

Fat-free or low-fat dairy options offer calcium, vitamin D, potassium and more. Individuals can include more low-fat dairy in their diets by substituting ingredients — plain yogurt instead of sour cream, fat-free milk instead of cream and ricotta cheese instead of cream cheese.

Proteins are found in lean beef and pork, chicken, turkey, nuts, eggs, beans, peas, and soy products. Prepare a seafood meal twice a week.

Water is essential. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to have a drink. Incorporate water into your daily diet. Consume foods that increase water intake — soup, oranges, watermelon, tomatoes and leafy, green vegetables. And, drink before and during workouts.

 

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