It would be great to turn back time or to find that fountain of youth, but there is something we can all do to experience better health as we age. You guessed it, exercise! So many people view exercise as “work” and after all, who wants to “work” in their retirement years? Well, I can promise that once you begin a suitable exercise program you will feel the positive effects on your body and maximize your independence as you age.
People 65 and older make up one of the fastest growing population segments in the country. This age group also exhibits the greatest proportion of chronic disease, disability and healthcare costs. Research has proven that participating in a consistent exercise program can help older adults prevent chronic disease, improve mood, reduce the risk of injury and experience greater longevity. Many older adults are suffering with various medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and the list goes on. These medical conditions can be managed and improved through a medical exercise program tailored to their current fitness level.
What is medical exercise? Medical Exercise Training is the development of safe, effective and structured protocol based exercise programming specific to an individual’s medical conditions. Studies conducted among the senior population have concluded that many medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity can be improved with exercise. Medical Exercise Training programs focus in four distinct areas:
- Cardiovascular and endurance
- Strength and flexibility
- Balance and stability
- Functional training
Individuals participating in a medical exercise program will receive a comprehensive plan that encompasses specific goals within each of the four areas. Periodic assessments will allow appropriate adjustments to be made to assist each person to successfully achieve designated health and fitness goals.
Senior health experts recommend that older adults should be as active as possible. Lack of physical activity can lead to injury, more hospitalizations and an increased use of medicines for different issues. There are some people whose physical abilities are limited by general frailty. These seniors must approach exercise more carefully because they are the most prone to falling and experiencing broken bones. However, with proper instruction and a personalized medical exercise program they can benefit immensely.
Every person has control over how they age and how they experience aging. Participating in a medical exercise program and making physical activity a regular part of your life can improve your health by managing specific health conditions and helping maintain your independence as you age.
Ylli Bilani is the Founder & CEO of Spartak Fitness Medical Exercise & Post Rehab located in West Caldwell, NJ.
Senior Moments is a regular column by Senior Ministries of the Diocese of Newark.