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Wellness

Wellness For The Elderly - Senior Citizen Care

Old People Sports - Benefits And Tips For Safe Practice

1. The Importance Of Old People Sports, And The Benefits

Taking care of your mind and body is important in any age group, but after the age of 50 and as you get older, being more health-conscious can improve your quality of life tremendously.

It is important for the health of older adults to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine. Exercise has been shown to present short and long-term benefits both on the mental and physical level. In fact, some studies suggest that about half of the physical decline associated with old age may be due to lack of physical activity.

People over the age of 65 years old, in particular, require adequate fitness levels to help them maintain independence, recover from illness and reduce their high risk of disease.

It may be that a senior citizen stopped practicing sports activities for many years or have never incorporated sport or exercise in their daily routine. Now many people may find it a bit difficult to get started and, above all, to maintain physical exercise in their day to day lives. 

For this reason, we have prepared a list of the products that older adults will need so that they can start introducing an easy exercising routine which they can maintain for a long term.

Common results of ageing are:

  • shortness of breath
  • gaining weight
  • reduced muscle mass, strength and physical endurance
  • reduced joint flexibility and mobility
  • reduced cardiovascular and respiratory function
  • reduced bone strength
  • increased blood pressure
  • susceptibility to mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression
  • problems with physical coordination and balance - and with that the risk of falling increases. 

Inactivity is risky for senior wellness, as about half of the physical decline associated with ageing may be due to a lack of adequate exercise. A way to fight this situation is with soft exercise.

Exercise activities will have the following benefits:

  • Reduce the risk of falling
  • Reduce the risk of obesity
  • Prevent heart disease
  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Protect against osteoporosis
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Increase or maintain muscle mass.

2. Assessing One's Physical Condition Before Starting To Exercise

In my opinion it is a good idea to consult your GP after a long break in exercise or sporting activity, or if you have a chronic illness.

Even if you are bedridden, that doesn't mean you have to stop moving. The health benefits of exercise become even more important when mobility is limited. You could do arm and leg lifts, wrist, shoulder and ankle rotations, or stretching exercises. This of course depends on your physical condition and the help of a caregiver might be required.

In any case you should pay attention to the following points:

  • Start your training slowly, do the same routine a few times, and when you feel comfortable increase your exercise time. Don't overdo it. 
  • Make sure you drink during your exercise sessions.
  • Try to keep a regular schedule of exercising every day.
  • Make sure you have the right clothes for your sport.
  • Get the appropriate shoes so that you feel safe and stable. 
Senior on three wheel bicycle

3. Which Sports Are Better For The Elderly?

Now that we have established that it is GOOD for older adults to exercise, and that it may be even a "must do", we have to figure out which sports or exercises will be the best while trying to avoid injury, or over stress. 

- Walking - A 15 to 20 minute walk every day, with the help of walking sticks to maintain balance on all terrains, is highly recommended. You could even take up bird watching if you walk in green spaces. This will add extra interest to every day's walk.

nordic-walking

- Nordic Walking - This form of walking is more vigorous as it combines cardiovascular exercise with a vigorous muscle workout for your shoulders, arms, core, and legs. Normal walking activates muscles below the waist. When you walk with Nordic poles, you activate all of the muscles of the upper body as well. This is one of the more demanding sports activities for seniors and should only be attempted if you are fit enough.

treadmills

- Treadmills - Let's not forget that we can do the walking indoors on a treadmill. You could watch TV or listen to music if you get bored walking in place.

- Yoga - Some yoga positions can help with back pain. Yoga can give you a very gentle all body workout, improve your concentration, and increase your overall sense of well-being.

Tai chi

- Tai-Chi - This sport will strengthen the muscle tone, and improve balance and flexibility.

- Biking - Using a 3 wheels bike is safe and will strengthen your hips, knees and ankles. You can get a physical workout without adding extra stress to your joints. Take it slowly and increase your distance progressively. An extra benefit may be losing some weight.

- Exercise Bike - A good alternative to biking outdoors, it can provide a good cardiovascular workout that is extremely low-impact. The positive aspect in this case is that we exercise indoors in a secure environment, but we lose the fresh air and the scenery.

pedals

Exercise Pedals (Leg Machines) - Another good way to exercise indoors. And again, you can do this while watching TV or reading,

- Swimming - This is an great way to exercise since it provides a full-body workout and it is one of the best sports for seniors. Depending on your physical condition, take into consideration that you may need a swimming pool lift.

- Competitive Sports for Seniors - The social interaction and mental stimulation that can be had from competing with other individuals or in team sports can be very beneficial for one's mental health and physical well being. A great way for older adults to exercise, team sports are especially good as they engender a sense of comradeship and belonging. Consider taking up bowling or even golf. 

The next step is to establish what we should wear when we exercise indoors or outdoors, and the right footwear for each activity. 

Seniors_doing_yoga

4. What Are The Suitable Clothing For The Elderly To Do Sports?

Choosing the right clothes for seniors to wear to their sports practices is vital - it's important to feel comfortable. The more comfortable you are, the less likely you will be to injure yourself from poor posture or falls. Now we will answer the following questions:

4.1 What Are The Best Clothing Materials For Seniors?

Cotton garments, for example, can cause issues like increased sweat and an inability of the body to breathe easily during physical exercise.

It is important to choose clothes that are made from synthetic fibers such as Nylon, which has been found to be one of the strongest and most resistant fabrics today. The fabric manufactured with this type of fiber can withstand abrasion better than other types. In addition its drying time is quick due to low moisture absorption capacity. Polyester also provides great comfort and works well when it comes to sweat evaporation properties. It can help you stay cooler longer throughout your sporting activity!

4.2 Outdoor Sportswear For Seniors

Clothing for outdoor sports should always have certain characteristics - among the most important are:

  • Breathability - This is an important factor when it comes to sportswear. When a person sweats, they lose fluid which then causes them to cool down. Sweat should be able to evaporate from the surface of clothes in order for this cooling effect to take place and so that you can stay comfortable during your workout routine.
    •    Lightness - In order to keep the elderly active, it is important that a jacket or windbreaker be light and allow for movement. For winter outerwear specifically, these qualities are necessary to maintain the right temperature without sacrificing freedom of mobility.
  • Visibility - It is important to be easily seen by vehicles, so a flashy or reflective vest is a must.

You should be prepared for any change in the weather. The best way to stay safe during sports outside is to take along a backpack with warmer jackets and pants so you can adjust easily according to the weather. And don't forget the cell phone and locating bracelet!

4.3 Sportswear For Seniors In Winter

When doing sports outside the home, especially on winter days, it is important that there is a balance in the outerwear between their lightness or permeability. The key is not to cover up a lot, but rather do so with the appropriate garments that allow sweat to be expelled in order to a facilitate proper balance in the body's own temperature. 

It is important to talk about the extremities of senior people as these lose heat before the rest of their bodies. These are areas such as the ears, hands and feet; it's best to protect them with hats or gloves. One should opt for thermal fibers which allow sweat expulsion while keeping one dry no matter what!

It's important to have a windbreaker as its main function is to protect from the wind and rain. Bear in mind that once you go outside it's normal for older people to be colder so don't worry about being too hot with multiple layers on because they'll warm up quickly after doing an aerobic activity (walking, running or cycling).

4.4 Summer Sportswear For Seniors

In addition to how important it is to have clothing that allows sweat to evaporate, it is important to keep in mind the use of:

  • Caps and hats - Always protect your head from the sun.
  • Sunglasses - Excessive exposure to the sun can impact the sight of the elderly - issues can range from cancer of the eyelids to cataracts.
  • Bands on the forehead - Forehead bands are a great accessory that will keep sweat from dripping onto your eyes. No need to worry about it making you uncomfortable when playing sports as they're designed specifically with this in mind!

5. Footwear For Senior Citizens Involved In Sport

It's important to have the right shoes for your sport, but also make sure you're comfortable by getting a good pair of insoles. Good posture is key and who knows what kind of injuries could be avoided? The type of shoes you need to wear when doing cardiovascular activities, such as running or walking, are determined by the surface they will be used on.

  • The soles should have a grip that is adjustable for different types of surfaces so your joints don't take all the impact - especially on sand!
  • Having the right socks for elders is important. These should be made of a material that does not have seams which can cause discomfort by rubbing against shoes.

6. Final Thoughts About Seniors Wellness

Exercise is important in every age group, but especially so for older adults.

Sports for seniors can be fun and invigorating, and the physical and mental health benefits are huge for ones health and wellness. Choose activities you find interesting. You are more likely to keep up with an exercise routine if it’s fun - especially if it is a social activity. Start off slowly and aim for small improvements.

Please take all the above points into consideration to make your sporting activity as pleasant as possible!