Monday, February 12, 2018

Staying Fit

In a workshop, I give on Staying Fit we talk about the benefits of exercise for seniors. I have talked about these before but I need to emphasize the points again. Many of us don't exercise enough, which is defined as 30 minutes a day.
However, before starting an exercise regime, you should always talk to your doctor. To help you decide to see your doctor, take the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire.
  • Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition and that you should only do physical activity recommended by your doctor?  Y/N
  • Do you feel pain in your chest when you do physical activity?  Y/N
  • In the past month have you had chest pain when you were not doing a physical activity?  Y/N
  • Do you lose your balance because of dizziness or do you ever lose consciousness?  Y/N
  • Do you have a bone or joint problem (e.g., back, knee, or hip) that could be made worse by a change in your physical activity?  Y/N
  • Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs (e.g. water pills) for your blood pressure or heart condition?  Y/N
  • Do you know of any other reason why you should not do physical activity?  Y/N

If you answer “Yes” to any of the above questions, see a doctor or your physiotherapist before you start an exercise program

If you answer “No” to all the questions, start slowly and build up gradually, consider a fitness appraisal to determine the best program for you and have your blood pressure checked.  If it is over 144/94, see your physician before starting an exercise program.

A fitness appraisal would determine your strength and weaknesses so that you have an exercise program that will offer the greatest benefit.These can be arranged through almost any fitness facility, community centre, or YM/YWCA. 

I recommend becoming involved in a community program.  
Ideally, you would access a class that would suit your needs and be at the appropriate level. There are a number of advantages to doing this
  • Social engagement
  • Healthy competition
  • Professional advice to ensure that you are using good form and technique
  • Less likely to procrastinate
Check out Recreation or Senior centres for the following types of programs for seniors
  • Gentle Fit or Armchair Fitness programs
  • Zumba Gold
  • Water aerobics (regular or deep-water)
  • Osteofit (designed for people with osteoporosis)
  • Chair Yoga or Gentle Yoga
  • Palates
  • Beginners Line Dancing 
  • Tai Chi

Just a reminder of what exercise can do for you. Exercise helps you
  • Manage depression
  • Maintain independence
  • Have more energy
  • Reduce your risk of dementia
  • Reduce the risk of falling
  • Reduce risk of chronic degenerative diseases
  • Have a little fun.  

Being in good shape and in good health, as you age, helps you enjoy doing the things you love to do (playing with grandchildren, gardening), protects you against loss of bone mass, may boost your immune system and improves gastrointestinal function

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