Importance of Exercise for the Elderly
Updated: Jan 27
Some members of my Strength, Balance & Mobility Class
It's been a while since I have posted a blog due being busy with work commitments. I run a local Strength, Balance and Mobility class which mainly consists of seniors as members. Most of the members who attend have various conditions such as Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Hip/knee replacements, COPD, Balance issues and various other co-morbidities - you name it one of them probably has it. The aim of my class is to help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with these conditions whilst also trying to help improve there quality of life. The best and most rewarding part of the class for me is seeing improvement in members and getting positive feedback from them which is what inspired me to write this article for my next blog.
There have been many physical improvements for members of the class, not all but most. Iv'e listed below some improvements I have seen in my class and heard as feedback from current and past class members.
Reduced stiffness and improved flexibility around the joints, particularly at the end of the class. This would be due the joints becoming warmer and more fluid produced around the joints. This in turn has reduced pain temporarily for some members. Members have stated the longer they don't exercise the less flexible they become which is why they attend on a regular basis, this particular group find it very beneficial for there condition.
Members have stated they have improved strength and balance. This is particularly important for this condition to reduce there risk of falls. Due to weak and porous bones this type of client can easily break a bone during a fall. It's also common knowledge that exercise can help to improve bone density which again is imperative for people with this condition. Some have stated they have seen improvement in there posture. This would be due to muscles becoming stronger and pulling the skeletal system into the correct postural position. This improved posture also aids any balance issues they may have whilst again reducing there risk of falls. So again exercise for people with this condition is very important.
COPD - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
These members main objective of exercise is to help improve there breathing due to the condition they have. It's a well know fact that Aerobic exercises can improve Cardiovascular health by helping to improve the way there body uses oxygen. This can help with there breathing whilst also improving posture, lowering blood pressure, aiding weight loss and lifting energy levels for them.
Class members with musculoskeletal disorders such as hip or knee replacements is another common condition I come across in the class. There have been many improvements due to progressive strengthening exercises for these members. They have shown improved strength, flexibility, improved posture and a better quality of life once fully recovered. I also have members who are due to have surgery in the future, by improving strength and flexibility around there joints they may eventually be able to avoid surgery all together or the benefits of strengthening exercises can aid in a quicker recovery post surgery.
Many members come along to the class to improve there balance due having a fall in the past or having a fear of falling in the future. This type of condition is also very common and important to address as to reduce any further falls which may lead to other injuries such as broken bones. Many members have shown improvement and confidence whilst mobile due to completing progressive strength, posture and balance exercises in the class.
Obesity - Diabetes
I also have members who attend to simply improve on there weight loss. Exercise for these people has many well known benefits aside from weight loss. They see improved strength, increased energy levels, improved self esteem whilst also reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Depression - Anxiety
As a sufferer of this my self in the past I found exercise, particularly running outside to be of great benefit and a way to avoid medication. Exercise is great for producing chemicals in the brain - the bodies natural feel good endorphins whilst also taking your mind off any worries you may have. Depression is also linked to other conditions I have mentioned due to people not being happy with the way they look. Exercise can help these people improve health whilst also making them feel happier about themselves and gaining some self confidence along the way. Many class members have also stated they attend the class for the social interaction, this group scenario and social interaction also helps to lift there mood and gives many members, particularly the elderly something to look forward to attending each week. Aside from the exercise, a chat, laugh, joke or a smile can do wonders to make someone feel better about them selves and put them in high spirits for the rest of the day.
Other feedback which has also come to light from many elderly members is that many refuse to take medication due it making them feel nauseous, dizzy or unsteady on there feet. It seems they would rather endure a little pain during physical activity than suffer side effects effects of medication. They fear the side effects of medication may increase there risk falling due the it making them feel unsteady on there feet. They also find that the symptoms of there medication inhibits there ability to socialise and continue with any hobbies they may have due to theses side effects. They then tend to miss these social events and begin to feel isolated and depressed. So it seems for many that exercise and social interaction is more important to them than taking there medication if this is an option for them.
There are other conditions I come across but I think by now you can see the many benefits and point I am trying to get across in this blog. Apart from the well known improved physical benefits of each condition I think a huge part exercise can play is the social interaction. Members all say one similar thing, they come to the class because it's fun and has a great atmosphere. They enjoy interaction with a lovely group of people and have enjoyed exchanging stories and interesting facts amongst themselves whilst also making new friends along the way. This social interaction also continues outside the class for many as they often meet up on other days for coffee or lunch and to catch up on any gossip. Myself and other instructors often organise social events outside of the exercise class for members as we feel this is also something important to them. I think providing this extra service alongside exercise is what sets the class apart from others and local gymnasiums. Class members certainly give positive feedback and always look forward to a social gathering outside of the exercise class.
If anyone is interested in joining or requires more information about my current classes please contact me for more information via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07552082295.