Exercise for the elderly

"There is no point to exercising, I am going to get old anyway." "Exercise puts me at a risk of falling." "I am too old to start exercising." These are just some of the questions which pass through the minds of the elderly when asked about exercise. However all of these doubts and myths simply don't hold any merit. Exercise in the older population has shown to have a lot benefits such as feeling and looking young and lowering a variety of clinical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and depression.

Aging and Age-related losses?
Age-related issues range from physiological and biological to behavioral. Reduction in muscle fibres (especially type 2) and spinal motorneurons lead to reduced mechanical efficiency and strength. This is one of the main reasons why the risk of falling increases as one ages. There is also disruption in daily activities like getting up and sitting down, carrying groceries and inhibited freedom of movement. This therefore impedes the elderly from going out and socializing which eventually results in loneliness and depression.

How can exercise help?
A recent study found that physical activity was the number one contributor to longevity. But getting active is not just about adding years to your life, but adding life to your years. This possible by making you strong and agile through exercise, which maintains your independence and ability to keep doing things you enjoy.

The frequency of falls and injuries is high from the 5th decade of life with 30% of the over 65 population reporting at least one fall every year. Strength training in the elderly aims to increase muscle mass (hypertrophy) and promote neural adaptation. Research also states that combining multimodal programs that emphasize on balance flexibility and stamina in conjunction with strength training improve postural control and prevent falling. There is also evidence of strength training increasing bone density, especially in elderly menopausal women. This stimulation of osteogenesis or increased bone density is achieved through intense loading of the muscles. Aerobic exercise also has it’s benefits. Incorporating long walks, a sport you like or any moderate exercise that causes mild sweating in your exercise schedule will improve your cardiovascular health.

What about HIIT?
High Intensity Interval Training involves short bouts of very intense activity interspersed with recovery periods of lower-intensity exercise. A new study published by Sreekumaran Nair, M.D., a diabetes researcher at the Mayo Clinic found that HIIT may have benefits for the elderly than first imagined. The researchers found that in the over-65 age group HIIT routine resulted in reversing the signs of aging within the cells compared to the under-30 age group. High intensity strength training has also reported higher increases in strength compared to training of medium or low intensity in the elderly. This is contrary to widespread belief that load bearing intensity amongst the elderly should be kept low to medium.

Why is X-FITT the right choice?
At X-FITT we combine strength training and functional movements in the form of HIIT. This ensures you are getting all the benefits of exercise and more carryover to daily activities. Therefore you are able to perform better in your day to day activities without any external help. All workouts are individualized and supervised by our certified trainers who take into account your health and medical conditions.

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