Studies consistently show that falling is one of the major health risks among older demographics and yet it remains overlooked until it happens.
The Toronto Sun reported that one in three older Canadians suffers a fall annually. This can lead to a range of injuries, with 99% of hip fractures attributed to an accidental fall. It can also cause broken bones virtually anywhere in the body, brain damage, or can even be life-threatening.
Aside from other safety measures at home, such as installing stairlifts, experts state that staying active is one of the most effective precautions that seniors can take to prevent falls. Simple low impact exercises that improve strength, flexibility, and balance will enhance their overall physical condition and keep them upright. Here are a few exercises perfect for your golden years.
Almost everyone can walk— it’s the simplest form of exercise! Even going at a slow pace is more than enough activity for many seniors, but brisk walking works better for improving leg stability and giving the old heart a boost. It’s easy, social and convenient as Canada has no shortage of walking trails.
The yoga craze has been going on for a while and it’s not hard to see why. Although it is an ancient Indian practice, anyone can do yoga and that includes older citizens. One of the common complaints among seniors is stiff joints no matter the time of day. Yogic movements are great for increasing flexibility and range of motion in those joints as well as improving balance. If a person does fall, there’s a better chance of catching it midway and regaining stability if they practice yoga. There are several variations that older people can try, one of which is chair yoga, which uses the chair as a prop and essentially the third leg.
For seniors who are more agile, pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis and is a great low impact sport to play. The racquet sport is growing in Canada. It is an active, dynamic sport that boosts endurance, but unlike tennis, the court is smaller so the elderly don’t need to worry about getting too exhausted.
Walking Football (Soccer)
Walking football is proof that reduced mobility isn’t holding back seniors from enjoying team sports. In this variation of soccer, those who can’t run, walk. Although it originated in the UK, Canadians have recently caught the walking football bug with Parksville, B.C. being the first city to host a league. Like traditional football, it is a stamina-building exercise that aims to improve strength and balance. It also has a social aspect, which is great for helping seniors cope with social isolation.
Swimming or Water Aerobics
Swimming is an ideal cardiovascular exercise for people with arthritis because water buoyancy removes pressure from the joints. When immersed in the pool, the body is essentially weightless and is supported by the water, making this a low impact exercise. There are numerous aquafit classes in the community, so seniors won’t have any trouble finding an instructor. It’s great for increasing aerobic endurance and muscle strength, to help the elderly stay on their feet.
This blog article is written by Reese Jones for the exclusive use of nyseniors.org.