The effects of exercise are scientifically evident. It can protect our body from a range of conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cognitive function, bone health, lower cancers risks, and more. However, the type and amount of exercise we should do changes as our body age. For older adults, it’s important to keep active and do the right type of exercise safely for health benefit.
Typically, people accumulate more chronic conditions as they get older, aches and pains may crop up and chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, can manifest. As estrogen declines in postmenopausal women, the risk of heart disease increases. Ageing is a major risk factor for cancer. Maintaining a high level of physical activity can help prevent cancers, such as post-menopausal breast cancer, uterus cancer, and colon cancer, and it reduces the risk of developing chronic conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Do strength training twice a week to maintain your muscle mass.
Weight-bearing exercises, such as brisk walking. Walk fast enough so that your breathing rate increases and you break a sweat.
Incorporate flexibility and balance exercises twice a week, such as Tai chi and yoga. There are a variety of programs available in all levels.
Dancing and moderate aerobic exercise.
70s and Beyond
Keep going strong, age is not a reason to stop you, unless your routine became unattainable due to a frail or diseased condition, then get advice (from health care professionals) and adjust accordingly.
Keep walking as far and as fast as you can safely go. Also include other your favorite low impact activities, such as cycling and dancing. Swimming and water aerobics are great, if pools are accessible and with wet surface risk precaution for falls.
Incorporate strength/body weight training, balance and range of motion exercise in your routine. Beginner level of Tai Chi and yoga are ideal.
Exercise in your 70s and beyond is important for your cognitive function, and helps prevent frailty and falls. If you have a period of ill health, try to keep mobile if possible. Strength and fitness can decline rapidly if you are bed bound or very inactive, which can weaken your muscles and loss independence.
Let your body guide you for exercise frequency and intensity, but it’s important to be consistent. With good general health, a 30 minutes daily exercise should be easy to do, even break down into two or three 10 - 15 minutes bolus will work as well. If you want and able to do more, increase challenges in small steps.
Exercises Seniors Should Avoid (or be cautious if it’s continuation of your ongoing routine)
Requires mind and body integration through mental imagery
Accumulates energy by releasing endorphins rather than depleting it
Enhances mental capacity and concentration
Improves balance and stability by strengthening ankles and knees
Promotes faster recovery from strokes and heart attacks
Improves conditions of Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s
How to Get Started
You can sign up a Tai Chi instructional class locally, or learn from video teaching, which became more practical during this pandemic time. Watch from the front and back views, follow the movements break down step by step, the back view demonstration is easier to follow. The best part is you can replay and repeat as many times and at any time you want. To start out, no need to be too concerned about the Tai Chi theories, which can be intimidating. Just do it and experience it. Everything will come along with more practice. Tai chi has many different styles and serves different purposes. Each style may subtly emphasize various tai chi principles and methods. There are variations within each style. You may learn more about the Ancient Tai Chi history, theory, literature as you wish, or just focusing on practice sessions.
Practice tips for adult Tai Chi beginners with health goals
Choose the tai chi style fit your personal goals, explore and observe first, then try it out
Choose a flat floor (indoor or outdoor) and quiet space for safe environment
Dress comfortably loose with a thin-soled shoes for Tai Chi practice
Practice at your own pace - be open, relaxed, and breath freely
Be patient to learn the posture precision and the motion continuity
Keep focused and control body movements and balance
Follow the motions flow and make transitions smoothly
Feel the body and mind integration
Check how you feel after each practice and experience the rewarding sense of internal harmony
Rotate variations from your favorite exercise selections. A different regimen will stimulate your brain and challenge your body to prevent body’s adaption.
The type and amount of exercise you should do changes as your body age. For older adults, it’s important to keep active and do the right type of exercise safely for your benefit. Although aging is challenging, there's no doubt that regular exercise will help improve your ability to function at almost any age or level of fitness. Let your body guide you for exercise frequency and intensity, but it’s important to be consistent. The key message is to keep moving throughout your life. Sustained exercise is what benefits health most. No matter your age, the best exercise for you is safe, enjoyable, and feeling good.
Take action today; don’t put it off. If you are serious about keeping fit and Tai Chi practice benefits, contact QualityLifeForum@outlook.com for a free call. An individualized fitness plan and wellness coaching program can help you achieving your personal health goals.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional for personal conditions.
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