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How Physical Fitness is Tied to Mental Fitness in Seniors

November 22, 2019 in: Senior Fitness,

Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins started competing as a sprinter at the age of 100, which was only two years ago. In June of 2019, while competing at the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Hawkins won gold medals in the 100 meters (46:06) and 50 meters (21:05) races as a competitor in the 100 and over age category. 

Currently living in the state of Louisiana, Hawkins has proven that life is what we make it and that committing to a life of fitness can garner both physical and mental benefits. During an interview at a local television station in Albuquerque, Hawkins stated that “I hope I’m still inspiring them to be healthy and to realize you can still be doing it at this kind of age.” 

While Hawkins’ story is inspiring for people of all ages, it is particularly relevant in showing that seniors can enjoy an active lifestyle of fitness later in life. This article addresses the benefits of physical fitness and mental fitness for seniors and how committing to this regimen can significantly improve their overall quality of life.

Walking for Long Term Health and Wellness for Seniors

November 08, 2019 in: Senior Fitness,

Walking for Long Term Health for Seniors

As we get older, exercising should be a priority; unfortunately, for many American seniors, this is not the case as many often prefer to lead a sedentary lifestyle as they approach their golden years. For many seniors, this decision stems from health problems, weight or pain issues, or concerns about injuring themselves, all of which are valid concerns. However, exercising does have to entail lifting heavy weights or performing high-intensity workouts. Studies show that walking 30 minutes per day is offer several health benefits, such as lowering the risk of developing certain chronic diseases and reducing high blood pressure. And the benefits don't stop there as walking also helps contribute to the following:

Best Exercise Regimen for Seniors (65+)

January 28, 2019 in: Well-being, Senior Fitness, Senior Health,

Exercise for seniors is extremely important for elderly folks to keep their bones, joints, and muscles healthy. Less activity means overall mobility drops. This lack of activity contributes to several major and minor health issues among seniors.

Ideally, every elderly person should have about 150 minutes of moderate exercise incorporated in their weekly routine. The plan can include things like walking, some running, swimming, pedaling, and exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and balance.

150 minutes a week may sound like a lot but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regards this amount of time fit for American adults who are 65 or older. Elderly folks can manage their exercise goals the 150 minutes over 7 days  i.e. 20-25 minutes per day or 2 sessions of 10-15 min each every day.

Why Should You Stay Active in Your Senior Years?

September 05, 2018 in: Well-being, Senior Fitness, Senior Health,

As you age, you may give up on your daily exercise routine. While high-intensity exercises can make you tired, low-impact exercises on a regular basis are good for your health. Here are a few tips to help you stay fit after retirement:

  • Try 5-minute cardio workout sessions a few days a week
  • Squats can help you build lower body strength
  • Try bicep curls
  • Practice wall push-ups
  • Strengthen lower body muscles with leg raises
  • Improve your balance with chair stands and toe stands
  • Stretch your lower and upper body
  • Practice deep breathing exercises

Staying Fit after Retirement:

Advancing age is often accompanied by health issues. If you aren’t fit and fine, your immune system won’t be able to resists diseases. You may experience hypertension, back pain, osteoporosis, and dementia. Through regular exercise, you can reduce the risk of suffering from several health problems. But before you begin following an exercise routine, discuss with your doctor whether it’s safe for you.

Here’s why seniors should develop an exercise routine:

Improve Heart Health

Heart diseases account for almost 25% of deaths every year in the US. High blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels in your body increase the risk of heart diseases. Regular exercise keeps your cholesterol levels under control and lowers blood pressure to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Keep Joints and Bones Healthy

Arthritis is quite common among seniors. It refers to a group of 200 rheumatic diseases that affect your joints. Through regular exercise, you can effectively manage arthritis. It lubricates your joints and reduces stiffness and pain.

Control Obesity

Obesity is the underlying cause of various health issues such as arthritis, hypertension and heart diseases. You can prevent or control obesity by exercising on a regular basis.

Make the Immune System Stronger

Regular exercise can improve your immune system. This way, you can recover quickly from an illness or injury. A strong body is able to fight infections and improves your overall health.

Control Mental Health Problems

Mental health problems such as depression and dementia are quite common among seniors. You can reduce the risk of developing mental illnesses through regular exercise.

Physical activity releases chemicals in your brain that positively influence your mood and boost your self-esteem. Moreover, when you join fitness classes or go to a nearby park for a walk or to exercise, you also get to meet people and make friends.

Reduce the Risk of Slips and Falls

More than one out of four seniors in the US falls every year and one out of five such cases leads to broken bones or a life-threatening head injury. Regular exercise helps you improve your balance and therefore, reduces the risk of slips and falls.

Physical activity and exercises improve the quality of life. As you reach your retirement age, you need not indulge in strenuous exercises. You can rather try moderate, low-intensity exercises to improve your health.

Montecito Santa Fe firmly believes in fitness. It is why we have an amazing workout room right here at the facility and have fitness classes every day.

Resistance Training Can Improve Quality of Life

August 21, 2018 in: Senior Fitness, Senior Health,

Resistance training (also called strength training or weight training) is the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles. Resistance training is important because of its role in building and maintaining muscle. It is good for metabolism, builds strength, prevents falling, prevents injury, and lifts the mood.

Different forms of resistance training can include:

  • free weights
  • weight machines
  • resistance bands
  • use of body weight

Resistance training is based on the principle that muscles of the body will work to overcome a resistance force when they are required to do so. When we do resistance training repeatedly and consistently, muscles become stronger. A well-rounded fitness program includes strength training to improve bone, joint function, bone density, muscle, tendon and ligament strength, as well as aerobic exercise to improve the heart and lung fitness, flexibility and balance exercises.

People who participate in this form of training usually have an easier time moving through activities of daily living (ADL) because their muscles move more efficiently. The Australian physical activity and sedentary behavior guidelines recommend that adults do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week.

Resistance can be provided simply by moving the body against gravity or by adding weighted dumbbells. You can also add resistance by using machines at the gym or by using equipment such as weighted bars, bands, or kettle bells.

Safety is key, so be sure the weight is not too heavy. Keep the weights light to moderate to avoid causing muscle rigidity. Be sure to switch up the parts of the body focused on for weight training and give the muscles time to recover (48 hours of recovery is suggested by many experts.)

Form matters! It can take a little more teaching of these exercises for some to grasp correct form and frequent checks for safety. This week, we will be sharing all the ways we incorporate resistance training into our boxing workouts. Please share your ideas for exercises and drills! We can’t wait to see what everyone has to share!

This article was written by Rock Steady Boxing. If you would like to know more or participate in one of our Fitness Center classes, give us a call today!

Seniors and Stretching: The Key to a Healthy Life

June 13, 2018 in: Well-being, Senior Fitness, Senior Health,

Immobility of muscles and joints become an ongoing health issue for seniors. With restricted body movements, it becomes really difficult to lead a healthy and happy life even if you are not suffering from any serious disease.

For all those senior individuals, stretching can help them in recovering their mobility by increasing the flexibility and by improving the blood circulation. Stretching is a simple physical activity that can be carried out without any machine and human assistance. Let’s have a look how regular routine of stretching can help seniors to maintain their physical well-being for a healthy life.

Improves the Symptom of Spinal Stenosis and Osteoarthritis  

Aging comes with some inevitable medical conditions. For instance, spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis can appear in old age. Osteoarthritis is a condition where cartilage between the joints starts to erode, resulting in chronic pain in the joints. By improving the flexibility of joints through regular stretching, you can reduce the levels of pains caused by osteoarthritis.

Spinal stenosis is a condition of nerve compression that results from the constriction of bone channel. Spinal stenosis is highlighted by mild pains, numbness in the affected area and weakness. By making stretching a part of your daily routine, you can reduce the symptoms of spinal stenosis with improved blood circulation.

Stretching can Reduce the Threat of Falling

For seniors 65 and above, falling can result in major physical injuries. They also are more likely to fall. Statistics suggest that nearly one-third of the senior population falls every year and a significant number of them end up in emergencies.

By including regular stretching exercises of the lower limbs, seniors can make themselves less prone to the risk of falling. Stretching exercises increase the flexibility of quadriceps and hamstring, which eventually improve the movement around the hip joint.

Stretching Helps in Alleviating the Side Effects of Poor Posture

At a younger age, poor posture might not cause pain in the joints and muscles. However, as we grow old, the diminishing elasticity and flexibility of tendons and ligaments make poor posture an excruciating thing. By stretching regularly, you can reduce the pain and feeling of discomfort caused by poor posture. In general, stretching exercises improve blood circulation.

Safety and Precautionary Tips for Stretching

It is important to consider some safety tips and prerequisites to make stretching exercises more effective.

Warm up: It is important to warm up your muscles and joints before stretching. A brisk walk for a couple of minutes or other light exercise can warm up your body for a stretching session.

Breath continually: Never hold your breath in the middle of a stretch.

Don’t Bend too much: Take care of your spine while stretching. Keep it straight and don’t put too much pressure on it in order to stretch further.

Your body will take time to adjust itself to stretching. So, don’t try to rush into it and be patient with results.

If you want to learn more about proper stretching and exercise technique, check out a class at our Fitness Center.

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