Elderly Exercises
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Pacian

Elderly Exercises

With the aging of my parents, I have taken a new look at the topic of Elderly Exercises. My Dad has long been convinced that calories are mental.  "If you don't think about how many calories are in it, then your body wont know either!" he would say.  My Dad is the kind of person that could eat anything he wants and never really gain weight.  My Mom has had to worry about her weight a lot, but as far as raw strength goes, she is a very healthy woman.  My Mom has devoted her life to raising kids and as such, she is always lifting kids, bags, boxes and hampers of clothes.  One day I was talking to my parents who are both over the age of fifty and they mentioned their exercise program.  I looked at them incredulously and asked "you two have an exercise program?"  They told me that they were worrying about their physical strength as of late and they had been lifting weights.  My wife is also taking an adult aging and development class and the two got me thinking.

I have always felt bad for the elderly.  There was a sweet old man who I knew growing up and I had the chance to interview him.  He showed me pictures of Vietnam and his time in the war and something inside me changed.  The pictures that he had taken looked much like the pictures me and a bunch of college students would have taken.  Underneath that body that looks so frail is a person that once enjoyed the health of being able to run fast, jump high, and lift heavy things.  At some point in your life moving becomes difficult, running impossible, and reliance on someone else is commonplace.  What it must be like to want to work out, but it hurts in a way that is not healthy.  You want to go running but every step hurts; not to mention the recovery time is double.  All this considered, I assumed that old people didn't need to exercise; after all what do the elderly do besides sit around and play canasta?

Not only did I not understand why it was a problem for the elderly to work out, but I did not understand why they needed to.  Working out is an essential part of keeping ourselves healthy. Having strong muscles will decrease the risk of breaking bones, bone disease, diabetes, and strokes. It doesn't take long for an adult who is not physically active to acquire some debilitating injury of disease.  

Working out is an essential part of anyone's life; and tt is absolutely mandatory for the elderly.  Working out can be a problem, especially when it is difficult to move and get around every day.  Luckily there are many resources including work out plans, clinics, and digital media that will help the elderly to find a workout that will work for them.  I am a fan of swimming because running can be very hard on my joints.  Swimming is an excellent alternative to running because it can be done year-round, improves your respiratory system, and decreases impact on joints and likelihood of falls and injury.  Next time you see a senior citizen doing their best to exercise give them a thumbs up, an encouraging smile, or some kind of encouragement and remember, it's not as easy as it used to be.