Senior Living Care Blog

Benefits of Aquatic Exercise for Seniors

Posted by Joe Gilmore on Dec 24, 2018 11:00:00 AM


Eating properly, staying social, getting exercise are three of the best ways to keep a healthy body and mind throughout your life. Some of these are especially important as we age. One of the biggest threats for older individuals is falling. According to a study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, about one third of the elderly population in the United States experiences at least one fall per year. These falls are costly. In the United States, the total direct cost of fall injuries for older individuals reached $20 billion, this number is expected to increase to $44 billion by 2020.


Staying healthy can become more difficult as we age, but there are a number of alternative exercises that you can participate in to make this easier. One such example is aquatic exercises. Participating in a water-based exercise program would allow older individuals to gain all the advantages of land-based exercises without the stress on joints, easing the pain on them and allowing them to exercise safely.


There is much evidence that not only are aquatic exercises safer for older individuals, they can also be very effective in maintaining and improving health. One study found that aquatic exercise can be just as beneficial as other exercises.


“Aquatic exercise has been shown to have similar cardiovascular and musculoskeletal benefits for older people as ‘on the ground’ aerobic exercise,” the study said.



Benefits of Aquatic Exercises

A man swimming in a pool as a form of aquatic therapy

Obviously, any exercise will help the body maintain a healthy weight and cardiovascular system, but there are some distinct benefits of participating in aquatic exercises specifically.


One reason that aquatic exercises can be more beneficial is that it is generally safer. As our limbs begin to age and our vision gets worse, older individuals are more likely to risk having a fall that can cause a major injury and may even be life-threatening.


The likelihood of falling is increased when performing exercises such as weight lifting or running. However, exercising in water is an easy way to maintain balance and even improve balance when out of the water. If a senior does happen to make a misstep in the pool, it is much easier to recover and catch themselves using the water to become balanced again.


Another benefit of aquatic exercise is that it is a form of strength training. While aerobic exercises in a pool can improve endurance and balance, there is also a resistance factor. Moving the arms and legs in the water, against resistance, is a good way to build or maintain muscle without having to use heavy weights.



It is also important to note that participating in water-based exercises can be effective for individuals that have current medical limitations like arthritis.


“There is an increasing body of evidence that aqua therapy increases fitness and mobility in patients with rheumatoid arthritis without exacerbating their symptoms,” a study found. “The use of [aquatic therapy] to increase buoyancy would allow arthritic persons to gain the full benefits of aerobic exercise with no strain or pressure on tender joints.”


There is also some evidence that water exercises are known to cause the less exercise-induced asthma than other forms of physical activity.



Effectiveness of Aqua Exercise Therapy

While there are many benefits to aquatic exercises, there is one question that remains: is it effective? There’s no point in participating in these types of exercises if they don’t actually do anything, but that is not the case.


There is much evidence that participating in water exercises at a facility can have a positive impact on the health-related quality of life, improving both physical and mental health. It can also be effective in improving exercise habits.


According to a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, aqua aerobic therapy was shown to be effective in helping with weight and body fat maintenance. In the study they compared a control group to a group utilizing water exercises, they found a significant reductions in weight and body fat mass.


The study also found significant increases in flexibility, balance, strength, power, and agility.


“The increasing risk of falls increases with aging, and the aims of this study were to investigate whether aqua exercise therapy can help the elderly by preventing falls and improving their gait patterns after a perturbation,” the study said. “Our results are similar to those of previous studies which have reported that 12 weeks aqua therapy exercise improves lower body strength power, flexibility, agility, and balance. Also, due to the training effect the weight and body fat mass was reduced, whereas no significant changes were seen in these variables in the control group.”


However, the study does mention that more studies need to be done on subjects with low bone density to see how exactly this type of exercise will help those individuals. But there is some evidence that water exercise can have a positive effect on the bone status of older women.



In Conclusion

Exercising as we age can become more and more difficult but water-based exercise is one way to make staying healthy easier. Participating in an aquatic-based exercise program may not only be safer for you, but can be just as effective in maintaining and improving health as land-based exercise. There is evidence that aquatic therapy can help increase flexibility, balance, strength, power and agility. On a similar note, exercising in water can put older individuals at less risk of injury through falls and can also help individuals who suffer from arthritis get through a full workout. If you or a loved one needs help eating properly and participating in social events, perhaps an assisted living facility can help.


At Landmark Senior Living, our residents have access to the care they need while also being provided with social gatherings and other events that will keep them happy as they enter the later stages of their lives. If you wish to learn more about our independent and assisted living facilities or would like a complimentary walk through of one of our buildings, please reach out to our admissions team to learn about the path forward.



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Topics: Senior Fitness

Benefits of Walking and Exercise for Seniors

Posted by Joe Gilmore on Nov 21, 2018 11:00:00 AM


Exercise and staying active is recommended for everyone of all ages, including older adults, to stay both mentally and physically fit. Unfortunately less than half of adults over the age of 75 are physically active while the number is even lower for adults aged 65 to 74 according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Living an active lifestyle and participating in exercises will increase body and brain health.


There are a long list of benefits that come from regular exercise including weight control, reduction of heart disease, managing blood sugar and insulin levels, strengthening of muscles, improvement of mental health, not to mention it increases your chances of living longer. There is also evidence that shows that exercise can reduce your risk of some cancers like lung and colon.



Benefits of Exercise

Four older women walking together outside

The National Institute on Aging says that there are four main types of exercise that provide different benefits and that all are recommended.



Endurance-based exercises, or aerobics, will help increase your breathing and heart rate. These exercises will help keep your lungs, heart and circulatory system healthy and improve overall health. Walking, jogging, dancing and swimming are all examples of endurance exercises.



Strength exercises help make muscles stronger. Strength exercises will help you carry out everyday activities such as climbing stairs. Lifting weights, resistance-based training and bodyweight exercises are examples of this.



Balance is important, especially for older adults who can be seriously hurt from a fall. Leg raises and toe lifts are two examples of balance exercises while an exercise program like Tai Chi can also help.



Exercises for flexibility will help stretch your muscles and help your body stay limber. Flexibility will allow you to participate in more exercises and perform everyday activities like driving or getting dressed. Flexibility exercises include general stretching of body parts and participating in things like yoga.


Strength exercises specifically can protect against bone loss and reduce the risk of osteoporosis which lowers the risk of falls and broken bones. This is important because men and women lose bone mass as they age, making them more fragile.


A study from the NIA even linked exercise intensity to increases in metabolism across brain reasons, something that could have an effect on things like Alzheimer's since decreases in brain metabolism is a known characteristic of the disease.


“How long one engaged in moderate physical activity impacted the amount of brain glucose metabolism. The more time spent performing moderate level of physical activity (average 43.3 min/day to average 68.1 min/day), the greater the increase in brain glucose metabolism,” the study said.


If you or a loved one has been living a sedentary lifestyle for too long, small steps can help to become more active and live a healthier lifestyle.



Getting Started

Many of us already know how beneficial exercise can be but may be nervous about getting started or maybe don’t know where exactly to start.



One simple thing you can do to get started is just going for a walk during the day. Grab a friend and walk around the neighborhood or local park. Walking is one easy thing you can do to boost mental health, reduce pain in muscles, lower blood sugar, and improve heart health. Making walking a priority and incorporating it into your daily routine and getting accustomed to it is one way to ensure you get your daily exercise in. If you can’t walk for long at first, just start with small 10 minute walks and build your way up to something longer and farther. Be sure to walk on a surface that is smooth to put less strain on your joint and reduce aches. Don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather. Finding the proper shoes that will support your arches will help your knees, shins, and hips not be as sore during the walks. Also, make sure to stay hydrated during your walks.


It may be beneficial to some people who are not used to exercising to seek the help of a personal trainer to help them get started. One of the best ways to go about doing this is getting referral from a friend or professional. Checking with a local health club or senior center is another approach you could take.


The NIA also provides a list of recommended practices for each of the four types of exercises they mention.



Physicians recommend about 30 minutes of endurance exercise each day for senior to help improve heart rate and breathing. If this is too difficult or strenuous, it is acceptable to do three 10-minute periods spread out over time to achieve the same goal.



For strength training, seniors can lift weights and resistance bands but can also use walls and other stationary objects to participate in resistance exercises like sit-ups or wall push-ups. It is

recommended exercising all muscle groups and doing one or two sets with 10 to 15 repetitions.



Participating in balancing exercises can be done almost anytime, anywhere and as often as you like. Balance is incredibly important for everyday life and by practicing it every so often it can make life a lot easier.



Similar to balance exercises, they can be done at almost anytime and don’t require much equipment. Doing a stretching exercises like a calf stretch against a wall or an upper body exercise against a wall can helpful for overall health. It is recommended doing each stretch three to five times and holding for 10 to 30 seconds while remembering to breathe and relax.


The National Institute of Aging offers a number of exercise videos to look through and try out on your own.



In Conclusion

Exercise is incredibly important if you or a loved one wishes to stay healthy as they continue their journey through life.There’s nothing more important than keeping your loved one safe and happy while preserving their health and wellness. If you’re ready, have the conversation with your loved one about how senior living can drastically improve and enrich their lives.



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Topics: Senior Fitness

The Importance of Senior Fitness & Health

Posted by Matt Boyle on Apr 25, 2018 11:00:00 AM


For anyone, staying in shape is a positive way to keep happy and healthy-Senior fitness is a great way to obtain that goal. It’s also an excellent method for lowering risk of adverse health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and even anxiety and depression. Regularly scheduled physical activities are even more important for persons at an advanced age level. Staying active can improve quality of life for seniors, reduce risk of falling injuries and improve mental perception. In order to live long, productive lives, it’s important for seniors to keep their bodies moving, fueled with the right substances, and achieving adequate sleep.


Why is Health and Fitness Important for Seniors?

With the advancement of age, there comes a bevy of unavoidable body changes. Metabolism is expected to slow down, and the body accumulates fat much easier than it used to, as opposed to generating muscle strength. Risk of osteoporosis also rises, especially in elderly women, increasing the likelihood of bone fractures and serious injuries. However, with the right exercise regimen in place, you can reduce these other aging related changes in the body.


Important benefits include:

  1. Improvements in mood and mental clarity
  2. Improved sleep
  3. Reduced risk of falling, bone fractures
  4. Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and dementia


Strength Training for Seniors

Strength training is one of the oldest methods of building muscle size and strength. However, for may seniors, it can be an intimidating leap to begin this kind of training. It’s important though, because even taking small steps towards increasing overall muscle strength with senior fitness can have lasting benefits. The CDC recommends participating in strength training workouts at least twice a week in order to stay healthy as a senior. Always start using small weights when you first begin strength training, and implement a changing lineup of muscle targeted workouts throughout each week.

Dumbbells, tennis shoes, an exercise ball and scale-Senior fitness is an imperative step in maintaining good health.

The following core five movements should all be targeted at least once per week. Check out Elder Gym for detailed instructions on elderly health and fitness exercises.

  1. Pull-down
  2. Chest press
  3. Compound Row
  4. Overhead Press
  5. Leg Press

Each workout requires a small amount of stabilization on the part of the rest of the body. In order to maximize the benefits, make sure to start slowly, with weights you can handle, and make all movements gradual and slow. Find a comfortable rep and set amount where you feel adequately tired but not in pain. And if it is your first time, make sure to have someone stand by to spot check.


Aerobic Exercise for Seniors

If you’re aged 65 or older, the CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of medium to intense Aerobic activity a week. Aerobic activity is any exercise that increases our heart rate for an extended period of time. To build endurance makes your heart stronger and in time you’ll see positive changes in health and mood.

To get started, it’s important to approach all exercise gradually. To build aerobic endurance, begin with small walks or jogs. Once you’ve reached a 30 minute walk without feeling winded, you’re prepared to move on to more rigorous aerobic activities. For the best results, it’s important to make sure your heart rate is getting elevated at an acceptable rate.


Some ideal, low-impact methods of exercise to start with for seniors include:

  1. Walking
  2. Cycling
  3. Swimming
  4. Water aerobics
  5. Line dancing

Flexibility Exercises for Seniors

Before starting any workout regime, it’s best to make sure your body is nice and warmed up. This can be achieved by anything as small as going for a short walk to stretching and holding yoga poses for 10 seconds at a time. If your muscles are feeling tight, you should get warmed up and stretch before engaging in a workout. We usually exercise to make our bodies feel better, exercising without proper stretching can result in injury that will make your body’s condition worsen.

As the body ages, the structure of your bones and muscles change. If you’re not careful about maintaining a range of motion and activity throughout the day, the body can grow accustomed to stagnation.Stretching is an excellent way to relieve tension, improve the body’s health, and improve posture.


Some good flexibility exercises for seniors to do include:

  1. Shoulder rolls
  2. Neck rotation
  3. Overhead reach
  4. Leg lifts
  5. Arm raises

The important thing to remember about flexibility exercises for seniors is that they need regularity. That means continually using them with correct form and adequate duration each time.



At Landmark Senior Living, our goal is to create the utmost in independent living for every one of our senior housing residents. Our independent living program is tailored to each individual’s needs and includes robust daily exercise, yoga, & strength training classes available for senior fitness enthusiasts. Our broad range of activities and events will help you to take care of your mental and physical health.


Learn More Here



Topics: Senior Fitness

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