How to stay fit in old age
“Exercise pays off” – this particularly applies to the 60+ generation. Especially as we age, sport is a wonderful way to stay healthy. This also applies to older people: Strength and stamina, balance and mobility are the cornerstones of an holistic training programme. To be on the safe side, you should visit your GP before you start training.
Anyone who trains regularly and correctly when older can continue to enjoy flexible muscles, tendons and ligaments, while at the same time maintaining their mental agility. Furthermore, experts agree that exercising in the fresh air floods the body with “happy hormones”. So what are you waiting for? Get started. As a first step, we’ll let you in on our best training tips.
Stamina is the ability to maintain a specific exertion for a long period. Thus, stamina training is at least as important for older people as muscle strengthening. The good news: You can take it gradually. Even two to three brisk one-hour walks a week are enough to do something for your stamina. Anyone wanting more action can equally well get on their bike, swim a few lengths or have a go at Nordic walking.
A good sense of balance is the best protection against falls and can be very easily developed. Sports such as dancing or tai chi are particularly good in this respect.
One popular balancing exercise to perform at home is the tandem stance: Place one foot directly in front of the other, so that the heel of the front foot touches the toes of the back foot. As soon as you can maintain your balance well in this position, shift your weight slowly from the back to the front foot and back again.
A cat intuitively does the right thing after finishing its midday nap: It stretches well before resuming its hunt for mice. We humans can learn a lesson from this. Those who perform stretching exercises before and after sport remain flexible and keep their muscles supple. Yoga is also an effective way to keep fit without overexerting your body. Many gyms offer special sports and yoga programmes for older people - it’s worth asking about them.
A clever choice: Easier training with aids
Gym machine workouts, tai chi, dancing or yoga – whatever you decide, get some advice from health and fitness experts. The reason: Doctors and trainers can give you valuable tips and they are informed about aids that can make training easier for you, thereby increasing your enjoyment of sport.
If you have a joint weakness, for example, the doctor can recommend an orthosis for you, which stabilises the joint, thus ensuring a balanced load when performing sport. Modern varieties can actually influence bodily perception in such a way that responsiveness is increased and the injury risk is reduced.
In those with weak connective tissue, venous disorders or obesity, compression hosiery can bring considerable relief. It improves venous return to the heart and prevents the blood pooling in the legs. Specialist retailers now supply special sport compression hosiery for just about every sport.
In parallel to this, increasing numbers of gyms are offering older people a tailored fitness programme, which also takes disorders such as osteoporosis, arthrosis or diabetes into account. Such programmes always focus on individual requirements. In addition, modern chip-controlled strength training equipment automatically adjusts to the person using them, thus ensuring optimal training conditions.
Summary: Make sure you have a complete fitness programme and that you obtain some expert advice before you start. Then you can enjoy the magic anti-aging cure, namely sport, to the full.