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Exercise for the Elderly
Is it safe for me to exercise?
is safe for most adults older than 65 years to exercise. Even patients
with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure,
diabetes, and arthritis, can exercise safely. Many of these conditions
are improved with exercise. If you are not sure if exercise is safe for
you or if you are currently inactive, ask your doctor.
How do I get started?
is important to wear loose, comfortable clothing and well-fitting,
sturdy shoes. Your shoes should have a good arch support, and an
elevated and cushioned heel to absorb shock.
If you are not
already active, you should begin slowly. Start with exercises that you
are already comfortable doing. Starting slowly makes it less likely
that you will injure yourself. Starting slowly also helps prevent
soreness from "overdoing" it. The saying "no pain, no gain" is not true
for older or elderly adults. You do not have to exercise at a high
intensity to get most health benefits.
Walking, for example, is
an excellent activity to start with. As you become used to exercising,
or if you are already active, you can slowly increase the intensity of
your exercise program.
What type of exercise should I do?
are several types of exercise that you should do. You will want to do
some type of aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes on most, and
preferably, all days of the week. Examples are walking, swimming, and
bicycling. You should also do resistance, or strength training two days
Warm up for five minutes before each exercise
session. Walking slowly and stretching are good warm-up activities. You
should also cool down with more stretching for five minutes when you
finish exercising. Cool down longer in warmer weather.
is only good for you if you are feeling well. Wait to exercise until
you feel better if you have a cold, flu, or other illness. If you miss
exercise for more than two weeks, be sure to start slowly again.
When should I call my doctor?
your muscles or joints are sore the day after exercising, you may have
done too much. Next time, exercise at a lower intensity. If the pain or
discomfort persists, you should talk to your doctor. You should also
talk to your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms while
- Chest pain or pressure
- Trouble breathing or excessive shortness of breath
- Light-headedness or dizziness
- Difficulty with balance
What are some specific exercises I can do?
following page shows some simple strength exercises that you can do at
home. Each exercise should be done 8 to 10 times for two sets. Remember
- Complete all movements in a slow, controlled fashion.
- Don't hold your breath.
- Stop if you feel pain.
- Stretch each muscle after your workout.
EXERCISE 1. Wall push-ups.
Place hands flat against the wall.
Slowly lower body to the wall. Push body away from wall to return to starting position.
EXERCISE 2. Chair squats.
by sitting in the chair. Lean slightly forward and stand up from the
chair. Try not to favor one side or use your hands to help you.
EXERCISE 3. Biceps curl.
a weight in each hand with your arms at your sides. Bending your arms
at the elbows, lift the weights to your shoulders and then lower them
to your sides.
EXERCISE 4. Shoulder shrugs.
Hold a weight in each hand with your arms at your side. Shrug your shoulders up toward your ears and then lower them back down.
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