The fundamental role of physical activity for the elderly

Italy is one of the longest-lived countries in the world, with a seniority rate of  165.3% . Having a population with a large number of elderly people is considered both a social triumph and a burden on the national health system. A greater number of neuro-degenerative diseases   linked to aging leads to an increase in expenses and costs of care. To combat this phenomenon, it is important to promote a new concept of aging, based on the  preservation  of  the psycho-physical conditions  of elderly people. More precisely, the objective to be pursued is the promotion and incentive towards the diffusion of fitness for the elderly.

Fitness for seniors: why is it important?

Any form of physical activity carried out by elderly subjects allows to reach the goal of a  healthy , but above all active aging. This is because the constant movement prevents muscle atrophy and stiffening of the joints, as well as possible degeneration of the neural system, increasing the chances of perpetrating a high level of quality of life.

Furthermore, fitness for the elderly also brings benefits to  the cardiovascular system,  controlling arterial hypertension and the amount of lipid reserves present in our body (for example our cholesterol level) and helps in the fight against weakening of the bones, limiting the damage of diseases such as osteoporosis and those from a possible fall.

Leaving aside the benefits that fitness for the elderly brings to their body, the positive effects generated on the psyche should not be underestimated. Being independent and healthy during this stage of life also leads to a better and positive state of mind, thus also chasing away problems such as depression.

The benefits of fitness for hypertension

As mentioned earlier, physical activity decreases the chances of developing  cardiovascular disease.

It has long been shown that the greater the amount of physical activity performed in one’s life, the lower the possibility of hypertension problems. It can in fact be said that the level of training is inversely proportional to those of blood pressure. Regular exercise, such as swimming, walking, yoga, and Pilates lowers our resting blood pressure levels.

In this regard, it is important that the exercise has an intensity between mild and moderate ,  so that it causes fatigue without risking affecting the health of an elderly person. To be more precise, it is advisable to carry out a daily activity lasting at least  30 minutes,  up to the full hour.

The metabolic syndrome and exercise

When we talk about metabolic syndrome we mean a complex physical condition, often caused by an unhealthy and regular lifestyle. This term can be used when at least  three  different  diseases  or  metabolic factors  outside the normal range are present.

We list below what are the factors to consider:

  • Fasting blood glucose above 100mg / dl or declared diabetes
  • Abdominal circumference greater than or equal to 94cm for males and 80cm for females
  • Triglyceridemia greater than or equal to 150mg / dl
  • Blood pressure above or equal to 130/85 mmHg
  • Levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL) below 40mg / dl for males and 50mg / dl for females

In order to face and overcome the metabolic syndrome, our two main allies are proper nutrition and exercise.  By applying both correctly, it is possible to act positively on all the individual factors listed above, improving physical conditions over time and greatly reducing health risks.

How to train safely

Although physical activity is our ally, it is important to know what kind of exercises to do and how to practice them correctly, in order to avoid causing injuries. For this reason, the best choice is to rely on  specialists  trained in the field of  fitness for elderly people .

If you still want to train alone, it is important to take the right safety measures.

Here is a small list of  precautions  to take into account when engaging in any physical activity.

BREATHING

Breathing is one of the most important phases of physical exertion. The respiratory system is closely linked to the cardiovascular system, since to allow the sufficient supply of nutrients to our body, necessary for the execution of motor activity, the heart and respiratory rate increase.

While performing an exercise, it is advisable to exhale during the active phase and inhale during the negative one. In addition, it is important to always breathe through the nose for two reasons:

  • The nasal cilia act as a filter, blocking harmful external agents that would enter during inhalation
  • The nasal passages heat the incoming air

CARDIOVASCULAR PROBLEMS

The presence of cardiovascular problems can limit the range of exercises that can be performed. In general, it is recommended to avoid exercises of an anaerobic nature, especially those performed through the use of the arms. This is because such exercises cause blood and chest pressure to rise.

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