Aerobic exercise or cardiovascular conditioning is extremely beneficial for seniors. This type of exercise allows the heart and lungs to work out at an elevated rate, supplies oxygen to the muscles, and improves the overall efficiency of the cardiovascular system. For seniors who are frail or have balance problems, swimming and water aerobics may be safer and less jarring to the body.
Exercise physiologists like Sal Fichera, author of the book Stop Aging – Start Training, place an emphasis on weight or resistance training needs. Such a program, of course, needs to be tailored to meet the medical concerns, overall physical condition and functional capacity of each individual. Resistance can take the form of free weights, machines tubing, or Therabands (or more creative items like soup cans). Form is important in order to prevent injuries, so it is important to start out with someone who can teach you the proper mechanics. Begin with lighter and manageable weights and fewer repetitions, and increase over time. Focus on exercising all six major muscle groups.
Studies have shown that even older and frailer people can greatly enhance the quality of their life through exercise. One study by a state Department of Health and Senior Services found that those seniors who participated in an exercise program reported an overall improvement in their health and fewer sick days.
Many local YMCAs offer senior-focused fitness programs, which include swimming, cardio-vascular and weight lifting. By exercising and maintaining a proper diet, your doctor maybe able to eliminate some of your medications and you should notice increased energy and feel better mentally.