Here’s what we know: Physical activity for those age 55-plus can reduce the risk of falls and improve health and quality of life. The health benefits include increased energy, increased strength, stronger bones, improved immune function, and decreased risk for cardiovascular disease. However, the right physical activity does vary from person to person, so see your chiropractor for exercise options that are best for you.
Being Smart About Exercise Choices
Everyone hitting that age 55 and over milestone wants to avoid feeling frail, avoid falling, and having to depend on others. Still, how to begin exercising when you’re no longer in prime shape?
In the beginning, exercise should be at a low level and gradually work into a longer session of a moderate level intensity.
For the best health benefits, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services recommends adults do 2.5 to 5 hours a week of moderately intense aerobic exercise, plus two or more days per week of muscle-strengthening for all major muscle groups.
After a comprehensive assessment by their chiropractor, senior adults should engage at some level in each of the following three types of exercise:
1. Cardiovascular (Aerobic) Exercise
Aerobic activity burns calories, improves heart health, maintains joint mobility, strengthens your heart, increases oxygen intake, and strengthens bones. Remember, the best form of cardiovascular activity is one that you will enjoy. If you have fun while being active, chances are you will want to continue performing these activities.
Fun cardiovascular activities can include:
If cleared to do so by your chiropractor or another healthcare professional, perhaps you can ramp up your activity a bit via
2. Strength (Resistance) Training
Muscle mass decreases as we age, and increasing muscle strength to all major muscle groups will help ensure independence. With recommendations from your chiropractor, you should be able to perform simple bodyweight exercises before advancing to lifting weights. Nearly every chiropractor has a story about a patient who lifted too much weight too soon, leading to an injury.
So, what are bodyweight exercises? These are activities using the weight of your body and the power of gravity. Your chiropractor can give you more details because part of their training is how to use individualized constructive exercise to maintain or regain health.
Bodyweight exercise examples:
Stand facing a wall, bend your elbows diagonally as you bring your chest closer to the wall, then press out until your arms are straight again.
Stand in front of a chair, facing away from it. Bend your knees to lower your seat onto the chair, and then raise yourself back to standing.
Stand with a chair or a wall beside you for support. Raise one knee to a certain height, then place your foot back on the floor. Do the same with your other leg.
Side Leg Lifts
While holding on to the back of a chair, stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Place your weight on one leg and raise the other leg sideways, away from you. Repeat with the other leg.
3. Balance Training
Impaired balance can lead to falls and serious injury. Improving balance can also give you a better reaction time to catch yourself in the event of a potential fall.
Again, activities to improve balance don’t have to be complicated. You can get better balance by standing on one leg for several seconds while standing in line or brushing your teeth, sitting on a stability ball while watching TV, or walking heel-to-toe as you go about your in-home activities.
To Avoid Injury, Follow These Tips by Chiropractors
Should You, or Shouldn’t You?
Doctors of chiropractic are specialists in musculoskeletal conditions and disorders. Following a comprehensive physical assessment, a chiropractor’s goal is to recommend conservative, non-pharmaceutical approaches to help you achieve optimal health.
CUKC Chiropractic Health Center
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), founded in 1922, is a private, nonprofit, chiropractic and health sciences-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas. The CUKC on-campus Chiropractic Health Center is open to the public and treats patients from Kansas City’s 15-county metro area. Our goal is to provide care and solutions for a better, more productive life for our patients.