The Benefits of Exercise for the Elderly
following is the second part in a special report presented
on the benefits of exercise for the elderly. Before commencing any exercise programme
you should consult your doctor.
Some types of exercise improve just one area
of health or ability. More often, though, an exercise has
many different benefits.
In other words, exercise as much as you can.
It's best to increase both the types and amounts of
exercises and physical activities you do. Gradually build up
Now that you have read about all the
benefits of exercise, we hope you are enthusiastic about
getting started. However, itís important to start at a level
you can manage and work your way up gradually.
For one thing, if you do too much too
quickly, you can damage your muscles and tissues, and that
can keep you on the sidelines. For another, your enthusiasm
needs to last a lifetime.
The benefits of exercise and physical
activity come from making them a permanent habit. Start with
one or two types of exercises that you can manage and that
you really can fit into your schedule, then add more as you
adjust to ensure that you will stick with it.
How much you exercise depends on you and on
your unique situation. For some, muscle-building exercise
might mean pushing more than a hundred pounds of weight at
the local gym to keep your legs in shape for hiking or
jogging. For others, it might mean lifting 1-pound weights
to strengthen your arm muscles enough to use a washcloth.
That might mean the dignity that comes from
being able to wash yourself, instead of having someone else
do it for you. The goal is to improve from wherever you are
Some people are reluctant to start
exercising because they are afraid it will be too strenuous.
Researchers have found that you donít have to do strenuous
exercises to gain health benefits; moderate exercises are
Many people 90 and older who
have become physically frail from inactivity can
more than double their strength through simple
exercises in a fairly short time. For
some, that can mean the difference between
getting up from a chair by themselves or
depending on someone to help them. In one
study, some people 80 and older progressed from
using walkers to using canes after doing simple
muscle-building exercises for just 10 weeks.
Source: Adapted from
National Institute on Aging
Part 1: I'm elderly, what can exercise do for me?
Part 2: Exercises for the elderly
Part 3: Is it safe for me to exercise?
Part 4: Is it safe for me to exercise? ...continued