Older people should – main
1. do some form of
physical activity, no matter what their age, weight, health problems or
2. be active every
day in as many ways as possible, doing a range of physical activities that
incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.
3. accumulate at
least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably
4. who have
stopped physical activity, or who are starting a new physical activity, should
start at a level that is easily manageable and gradually build up the
recommended amount, type and frequency of activity.
5. who continue to
enjoy a lifetime of vigorous physical activity should carry on doing so in a
manner suited to their capability into later life, provided recommended safety
procedures and guidelines are adhered to.
It is never too late for an older person to
start participating in regular physical activity, and the benefits of doing so
are wide ranging (WHO 2010).
beginning regular exercise you should
consult a doctor to make sure what kind of sport is suitable for you.
Especially, if you have not been physically active for a long time. It is very
important to find this type of sport that best suits you, the needs of your
body and is enjoyable to you.
Sports particularly recommended for
1. Swimming is perfect for seniors
because it builds strength and shapes the body (within 30 minutes you burn up
to 350 calories) with only minimal burden on your joints, muscles and bones.
Due to the power of water displacement your body weight drops sevenfold.
Swimming strengthens muscles, especially of the back, arms and legs. It
improves various muscle groups and so it is directly tied to improved
functioning every day. Besides, if you go
swimming regularly once or twice a week, after a few weeks heart rate
becomes stable and blood circulation improves optimally in the body. Aqua aerobics is also a good idea.
Fitness in the pool wonderfully relieves the spine, refines muscles, the
circulatory and respiratory systems.
Exercise can also be selected so as to support the rehabilitation.
2. Nordic walking - walking with poles involves up to 90% of
muscles, does not burden the joints as much as normal marching and also
develops strength. You do it at your own pace and the length of the walk can be
altered to suit your needs. Besides, outdoor activities oxygenate the body,
affect the cardiovascular and respiratory systems positively. The advantage of
this form of movement is that the use of the poles helps relieve the joints,
which is particularly important in the case of overweight and obesity. This
type of marching is safe even on uneven surfaces because it reduces the risk of
falls and fractures. The form of exercise is particularly recommended for
people with cardiovascular diseases.
If you do
Nordic walking, remember to keep:
figure of the body straight
abdominal muscles pulled in
- the elbows straight
your arms and legs alternately
the pole at an angle of approx. 60 degrees
At the beginning it would be good to
have classes with an instructor.
3. Gymnastics improves the elasticity
of the muscles and joints, and prevents imbalance between muscle groups.
Gymnastic exercise has a very positive
effect on motor skills. If you keep doing it, you can also avoid back pain or
painful muscle contractions. Exercise every day for approx. 15 minutes,
preferably at the same time. For seniors aerobics with music is also recommended.
These are sets of specific exercises which improve the efficiency of the whole
body and provide a lot of fun.
4. Cycling has a very positive effect on the heart and
helps burn excess calories. In addition, a recreational ride does not burden
the joints. Already a 10-minute ride has a good effect on the cardiovascular
system and improves the muscles functioning, a 20-minute ride supports the
immune system, and a 50-minute one influences metabolism. Besides, cycling
gives you a sense of relaxation, allows you to have a contact with nature and
becomes an opportunity to make new friends and to visit new places. In the case
of bad weather or other functional limitations, riding a stationary bike is
5. Boule (bowling) - it's an engrossing and
competitive sport which today is
becoming increasingly popular among the elderly. It requires first of all
concentration and not physical effort. Playing boules enables you to practise
coordination and spend time outdoors. This game has another advantage - it can
be played almost anywhere, for example in a park alley.
Recommended simple forms of daily physical
activity for seniors
Marches are the
simplest form of physical activity. They rely on the natural form of movement
and can be practised by everyone (who can move independently). They do not
require special equipment, just comfortable shoes. The march could be the first
step to improve the cardio-respiratory efficiency and prepare for other
activities, eg. for hiking. It can be combined with other things you do every
day, such as going to a shop, the movies or friends’. As a result, without
changing your schedule, you can increase your daily physical activity. The
intensity of the march should be adjusted individually depending on the state
of health and physical abilities.
Heart rate during
exercise in most elderly people should be within the range of 100-110 s/min and
should not be higher than 120 s/min
If you cannot say full sentences during marching, you
exercise too hard.
If you can sing, probably you walk too slowly.
The duration of training should be 20-60 minutes
A - at the start 15 minutes should be a warm-up
B - the next 35 minutes should be a march with the planned intensity
C - 5-10 minutes at the end of the march should involve breathing
exercise, stretching and improving posture
Jogging is a form of running at a slow pace. The main
aim of jogging is to improve fitness and exercise capacity without excessive
effort. Jogging is considered to be running at a speed of 7 - . It is used to maintain good
health. Jogging can be used as a warm-up preceding workout or race. Jogging is effective for
increasing the human lifespan and reducing the effect of aging.
Pilates is a system of exercise that includes elements
of yoga, ballet and weight training. It involves a combination of exercise with
a calm breath. The quality of movement is important focusing mainly on fluidity
and precision and not the number of repetitions. The essence of Pilate is
stretching, tensing and relaxing the muscles. Exercises aim for improving
flexibility, strength, balance and awareness of your body. Doing Pilates
benefits the physical and mental health, therefore it is called "well-being"
training. This method is suitable for people with pain in the joints and spine
and overweight ones.
Tai Chi derives from the Chinese exercise health
system. It consists of seamless movements while maintaining the correct
posture. The movements must be synchronized with the breath. Their aim is to
strengthen the muscles and to relax them. This form of exercise is safe for the
elderly, it does not require special equipment or housing conditions. In the
first period of learning it, it is recommended to perform exercises under the
supervision of an instructor. A particular advantage is the effect of Tai Chi
exercise as they improve balance in the older age which leads to a reduced risk
of falls and improves the quality of life.
type of physical activity you choose should affect the basic elements of your
physical health, ie. to improve aerobic fitness (aerobic), muscle strength,
flexibility, balance and coordination.
is recommended to exercise regularly (preferably daily) and to provide positive
feelings (relaxation, pleasure, satisfaction).
emphasis should be placed on simple and moderately difficult forms of physical
activity such as walking, marching, dancing, cycling, gymnastics, exercises on
a chair or in bed, swimming and so on.
simplest forms of exercise are safe for anyone who does not have specific
contraindications to exercise.
activity recommended for the elderly includes 3 types of exercises:
1. aerobic (endurance)
2. power (resistance)
- Endurance exercise, such as walking, running,
swimming or cycling should be performed at least twice or three times a week
for at least 20-30 minutes.
- Strengthening exercise (resistance), such us push-ups, sit-ups,
exercise with weights, etc. should be carried out twice a week for 20-30
- Stretching exercise which includes gymnastics
should be done approx. 10-15 minutes each day