Exercise for older adults is now being recommended not to help folks live longer but to live better, more fulfilling, more vibrant, and safer – that is, lesser risk of falls- than any medicines your doctor can offer.
My friend, Megan Senger, a freelance writer on fitness and wellness, just got an article published in the IDEA monthly magazine, IDEA Fit (Feb. 2015). It features a few experts, including me, so I”ll share it here although it will only be available for non-IDEA members for one week. The advice is simple, for the older adults and their trainers, but well worth reading. In a nutshell, getting older, even if you have been staying in shape, is a process we all hope to do more of. Getting unfit, however, is a process we can avoid by staying in shape. And exercise is the only way to do that, particularly resistance exercise.
It improves muscle quality and slows sarcopenia; improves or maintains bone quality slowing osteoporosis; it restores some semblance of balance and functional fitness; it reduces your risk of falling; and, amazingly, based on some more recent research, it actually slows cognitive decline!!!!
So read this article. It’s got some solid research behind it as well as the input of four experts – I guess I count, right? And find a personal fitness trainer who can help you or your family member start a progressive exercise program based on your particular needs and goals. At STEPS, we do this by engaging in a thorough health history before establishing the methods by which a trainer will help you get started. The traditional PAR-Q that many trainers use is insufficient for the senior population so beware a trainer or gym that uses that alone. Like medicine, exercise must be meted out properly. Pick your provider well.