Age is just a number.
Exercise is any activity that poses a deliberate physical challenge the body can adapt to over time; for e.g., if getting up from the chair or climbing the stairs is a challenge for you then the only way to get better is to establish a routine practice of the same, in the right way.
The common risk factor in older adults which leads to an increased risk of many chronic diseases and other poor health outcomes is physical inactivity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in adults aged 65 years and above, physical activity includes leisure-time physical activity (for example: walking, dancing, gardening, hiking, swimming), transportation (e.g. walking or cycling), occupational (if an individual is still engaged in work), household chores, playing games, sports or planned exercises, in the context of daily, family and community activities.
There are common myths which need to be busted, such as:
- Older people are physically weak and hence, the lesser the physical activity the better it is for them.
- We don’t need physical activity as we age, we need rest.!
- Exercising is risky for older people as they may injure themselves.!
- Only high-intensity exercises are of any use, which is impossible at an older age.!
In the age group 65 and above, strong evidence demonstrate that compared to less active individuals, men and women who are more active have lower rates of all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer. It also gives a higher level of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, healthier body mass and composition, stronger bone and muscles. They also exhibit higher levels of functional health, a lower risk of falling, better cognitive functions and also have reduced risk of moderate and severe functional limitations in their daily activities.
Typical age-related changes along with medical issues require exercises with specific modification which can be started under medical supervision. If there is a chronic illness due to which your activities are hampered it is best to meet the doctor or physical therapist first before embarking on any new exercise regime. At AktivHealth, we have a specialized team of medical professionals who will assist you to bring back your fitness levels or to introduce you to new levels of physical abilities.
It’s important to first assess thoroughly before one starts with the treatment, which helps us find the cause/nature of the condition. At AktivHealth, we assess the patient’s difficulty in performing different functional tasks and general mobility.
We identify the underlying causes which probably could be associated with the condition:
- Lack of flexibility
- Compromised strength levels
- Psychological barrier such as fear of fall
- Balance and coordination issues
We play an important role in motivating older patients and advising them to combat their physical limitations and/or co-morbidities. It is best achieved by focusing on individual patient’s goals, concerns and barriers to exercise. When the best possible combination of an integrated team effort and constant check on movement patterns of the patient is put together, it surely brings out the desired results.
We, at Aktiv focus on the basic components which are:
Aerobic exercise: They should be safe yet strenuous enough to target the heart rate into an aerobic zone which is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. So, according to the American Heart Association, the maximum heart rate for age group 60 to 65 is about 160 beats per minute while the maximum for age group 65 to 70 is 155 and for ages 70 and over, about 150 beats per minute is the maximum. Here we monitor the patient during the sessions and record it as it helps in knowing the progress.
Strength and resistance training: Major areas of strengthening involved are the trunk and back; upper body and lower body. It helps in improving core strength and in achieving better posture. It is done by free weights, resistance bands, and adjustable cable machines. There should a balance between increasing the difficulty and preventing injury.
Balance & flexibility: It is achieved by dynamic movements, balance training on unstable surfaces for better proprioception and drills to have better reactive time to prevent falls.
If a patient requires, we also suggest assistive devices to promote functional independence. We also help patients adapt to their surroundings and be safe at home, teach posture correction, self-transfer from one position to another and walking skills to promote maximum function and independence within a person’s capability. You are never too old to get stronger. The backbone of your fitness should be activities that you enjoy doing and most importantly the one that has movements involved in it.
The more the movement the better it is.
It’s always good to achieve your fitness by adding functional fitness in your regime to see the transformation in you to a new you.