2 Exercises To Slow Down Muscle Aging And Keep The Brain Healthy

exercise for phsycial and mental aging

Life expediencies have improved over the years and as people age, they no longer fit the stereotype of weak and immobile individuals living in assisted facilities.

It is not surprising, in fact, to see them staying active or working like people 20 years younger.

Exercising and staying fit is actually very good for them, not just for their physical health but also for their brain.

A top physio expert works with older people to help them remain in the best mental and physical state for as long as possible.

When they work with an expert, they will get advice on what type of exercise they should do and how much.

Best Exercises For Older Adults

There are two kinds of exercises that will benefit people of this age group – aerobic (or cardio) exercises and strength training.

Each type is beneficial in a certain way.

1. Aerobic Exercises

This kind of exercise is very good for the heart.

For example, going for a jog frequently will prevent the heart muscles from stiffening. A study has proven that it may even reverse some of the stiffening.

This is great news because heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

Even less intense exercise like walking is enough to protect the heart. Women who walk regularly see their risk of heart failure go down by as much as 25% compared to those who do not do any form of exercise.

Another advantage of cardio is that it lowers the risk of dementia, with physically fit women reducing their risk by up to 88%. Thus, they are less likely to see a decline in their memory and mental capacity and thus can continue living independently for as long as possible.

Doing some regular walking or swimming is a great way to protect your brain.

In fact, partnering aerobic and resistance exercises brings a lot of benefits to the brain. It will decline much less, meaning their memories and cognitive abilities remain in the best condition.

Some older people who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may also benefit from regular exercise, even if it means walking for half an hour for 4 days a week.

On the other hand, those who like to cycle will reap benefits on their immune system, meaning their bodies produce key immune T cells at the same rate as younger people.

This means they are more equipped to fight off infection and stay at the top of their health for as long as possible.

Lastly, regular aerobic exercise will make older people look younger, making their skin look and feel like those of a much younger person.

2. Strength Training

Compared to aerobic exercises, this is not as easy especially for those in their older years, but fortunately, there are other kinds of strength training exercises that are better for them.

One of them is tai chi, which is a kind of Chinese martial art that requires them to perform a series of flowing movements.

This is a kind of strength training that is done gently and slowly while paying a lot of attention and focus on deep breathing. The best part is, every practitioner can move at their own pace, so even if they are in their advanced years, they can practice it.

As they do so, however, they are actually building and preserving your muscle tone. Beyond just staying fit, they can also work on their balance, which is just as important.

Moreover, doing some other kinds of strength training like squats and planks will help build sturdier and stronger muscles.

Basically, doing these exercises with any kind of weight (including their own body weight) can help. They will not need to do more than just a few minutes to reap the benefits of this kind of exercise.

It is best to start earlier because some age-related conditions like arthritis might limit the amount of strength training they can do.

They would also need the advice of a trainer or a physiologist before doing this kind of exercise to make sure that it does not bring more harm than good.

Otherwise, strength training will make sure that the muscles do not become weak and thus, make them much less mobile and capable of doing normal, day-to-day tasks.

With all the comforts of modern life, it is easy to become less active.

This is, however, not good for the body and thus, when people age, they will notice their physical and cognitive abilities declining.

Working with an expert physiologist can prevent this and keep them strong and mentally fit for many years to come.

Russell Thompson

Written by Russell Thompson

Russell Thompson is a Senior Physiotherapist and the Director of Wyndham Physio and Rehabilitation. He established the practice in 1983 and returned to full time study in 2001 to complete his Masters of Manipulative Therapy. Visit their website to know more.

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