Home Exercise for Older Adults
Ways to regain and improve your fitness as an older adult
When the word fitness is used people usually think of younger people, sometimes dressed in lycra or leotards, or as athletes. Fitness is obviously very important to these groups, but fitness is relevant at every age and actually becomes more important and more relevant the longer you live.
What happens is that as we live longer, the fitness gap opens up between the best possible rate of ability and the actual rate of ability. Fitness is important not only for athletes but for everyone, because by increasing activity you can close the fitness gap at any age and no matter how many long-term conditions you have. By closing the fitness gap, you can increase your level of ability, regardless of your age.
There are 4 elements of fitness – stamina, strength, suppleness and skill. The links to the resources here will help you to improve your fitness in all four areas.
Stamina and Strength
A general principle of preventing frailty, staying independent and enjoying a good quality of life ten or twenty years ahead, is to increase all aspects of your fitness including your stamina. This will increase your reserves just like increasing savings in a piggy bank or deposit account. Strength is the ability to move weight whether that weight is a set of bar bells or a shopping bag full of groceries, or simply the weight of the human body. Muscular strength can be increased at any age including the nineties by undertaking exercise that requires the muscles to work.
Suppleness and Skill
There may not be a medical term for suppleness, but ‘stiffness’ is a term that is used. What most people don’t understand is that stiffness comes from inactivity rather than the ageing process itself! It is now clear that the brain can develop new skills at any age. In improving skill, it is important to focus on reducing the risk of a fall because a fall is often the turning-point in the life of someone, particularly if it is complicated by a fracture. Activity such as yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates are very good for developing skills as is almost any form of activity with irregular movement. Dancing is probably the single best activity to reduce your risk of falling.
Choose your focus – mixed resources
HowFit resource - Home wellbeing and fitness - a guide to keeping fit
Active on demand - A range of videos to suit all abilities to help you move more at home.
Move it or lose it - Stay active at home with the Move it or Lose it experts. Exercise, socialise, stay busy and try something new
We are undefeatable - Get moving around the home
Get up and Go! - A guide to staying steady