Getting old is inevitable; with the understanding World Health Organization Ageing and Life Course Programme developed a program named “Active Aging” to develop mechanisms to assist elderly remain independent and active. WHO is concerned on how longer people live as well as the quality of the lives they will live at old age. WHO demographic report of 1999 suggested that by 2025, the population of people above the age of 60 years is likely to increase by approximately 694 million (223% growth elderly population) (Costello and Edelstein, 2008). This paper discusses how exercises can be used to improve elderly social, physical, and mental strength.
Exercises and elderly
In 2025, the population of the elderly is expected to reach a mark of 1.2 billion in the world. With the statistics health organization and policy makers must come up with policies that can improve old age life. In developed and developing countries, there has been an increased growth of elderly homes; these homes need to have policies that are likely to improve elderly lives. One of the most recommended ways that elderly homes should enact is exercising programs for the elderly. When coming up with the exercises, the homes need to understand that old people’s bodies are weak and different people have different health conditions, thus the exercises enacted should be sensitive to the specific needs of the elderly. Motivation and continued strengthening of psychological well being of elderly are important when enacting exercise programs (Costello and Edelstein, 2008).
Exercise programs for seniors have their main focus on strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility in the elderly bones and structure: with stronger muscles, the seniors enjoy an improved cardiovascular health which goes a long way in preventing physical injury and lessening arthritic joints by absorbing shock among the elderly. Other than working on the bones, when elderly have strong muscles, they affect heart beating and lung functions; when someone’s heart is beating well and the lungs can breathe well, then once mood and endurance are enhanced (Meyer, 2001).
Depending with the elderly that a home is working on, different types of exercises can be adopted; some flexibility exercises that can adopted in elderly homes include tai chi and yoga (these are Chinese styles), walking, dancing, swimming, and bicycling as they increase range of body motion (Pereira, Vogelaere and Baptista, 2008). There are different benefits that exercising can have on the elderly they include:
Improved strength protects against falls
When someone has exercised, they increase their muscle strength; with strong muscles elderly have strong bones and can move without falling. When moving around, they are also improving their strength thus the cycle repeats. When the elderly exercise, they get high VO2max values and half the expected decrease in VO2max due to age; this assists in making them strong and can handle different chores on their own reducing their dependability rate.
Due to old age, when an elderly falls they have their skin torn; with torn skins their rate and degree of recovery are low as their immune is wanting. Taking care of the elderly goes a long way than ensuring they are not suffering from viral, bacterial, or fungi diseases, it involves prevention of physical damage; this can be attained with exercises (Erikson, 1968).
Exercise decreases the effects of arthritis
One of the most reasons why people engage in exercises is to reduce the effects of arthritis; when the elderly engage in exercises like flexibility, strengthening, and cardiovascular exercises they reduce their chances of suffering from the conditions and those who are suffering have their conditions managed effectively. When doing exercises with the role of reducing arthritis the program managers should be careful on the approach; it is tricky to kick start the project thus it needed to be moderate, slow and systematical; it’s important to start with low-impact aerobics (i.e. walking, rowing, biking, etc) before embarking on long timed programs.
Elderly homes should have personnel fitness managers who can train the programs and develop them in an effective and manageable manner; with the nature of elderly bodies, it is important to have experts/professionals when enacting exercising programs (Carver, and Scheir, 2000)
Better mobility protects against falls
One problem that the elderly have is poor mobility as their bodies are weak and their bones cannot carry them effectively; the situation is even worse to the sick and the obese elderly. To strengthen ones bones and probably promote loss of weight, exercise should be embarked on; the exercises should be simple, consistence and conducted in a way that enhances the growth of muscles.
When elderly just sit and fail to exercise, they reduced functional capacities resulting in a higher prevalence of falls and associated problems for themselves; the best solution that they can enact to ensure they are strong to move around reduce any chances of falling is through exercises. Other than working on the muscle strengthening part of it, exercising has positive effect on physical, social, and mental well being throughout the life course; they make someone flexible physically and mentally (Commonwealth of Australia and the Repatriation Commission, 2005)
Although elderly homes are made to assist them live more decent life, it is important to realize that they need independence, participation, dignity, care and self fulfillment; these parameters can be well attained if the elderly can do some activities for him or herself. The only way that an elderly can be trained to stand on his or her own and do some chores that he or she thinks are fit done personally by him is through exercising (Blij, 2009).
Exercises have cured/manages depression and stress among the elderly; depression is a mental disorder whereby one is not in the right mind to make sound decisions; it is not not a disease by itself but just a condition that would lead to diseases. In old age this is a common phenomenon that may take different form in terms of the duration that one undergoes through it. It is the major cause of old age diseases. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) ten percent of the 35 million people over the age of 65 years suffer from a depression related condition. When elderly are engaging in exercising activities, they are doing social activities that involve not only the physical body but also the mental strength; this reduces depression (WHO, 2002).
Elderly homes should deploy professional personal fitness managers to manage exercises among the elderly; when elderly are exercising they improve their social, mental, and physical strengths. Exercising elderly enjoy improved strength to protect against falling, decreases effects of arthritis and have better mobility.
Blij, H.,2009. The power of place. Geography, Destiny, and Globalization’s Rough Landscape. London: Oxford University Press.
Carver, C.S. and Scheir, M.F.,2000. Perspectives on Personality. Needham Heights: Allyn & Bacon.
Commonwealth of Australia and the Repatriation Commission, 2005. Choose Health: Be Active: A physical activity guide for older Australians. Web.
Costello, E. and Edelstein, E.,2008. Update on falls prevention for community-dwelling older adults. Review of single and multifactorial intervention programs. (8): pp. 1135-52.
Erikson, E.H.,1968. Identity: Youth and Crisis. New York: Norton.
Meyer, J., 2001.Census 2000 Brief, C2KBR/01-12, U. S. New Jersey: Wiley.
Pereira, C. L. N., Vogelaere, P. and Baptista, F., 2008. Role of physical activity in the prevention of falls and their consequences in the elderly. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity 2008; 5 (1): 51-58. Web.
WHO, 2002. Active ageing: A policy framework.