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The Key to Healthy Aging

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Older Adults should exercise for 20-30 minutes per day or split their exercise into shorter sessions of 10-15 minutes.
  • In case of shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, heart palpitations, cold sweating, heaviness in the arms and legs, and dizziness during exercise, please stop and consult a doctor.

As we age, our bodies go through a lot of changes. From a state of being strong and active, we can expect our bodies to undergo gradual changes, including bone thinning, muscular weakness and wrinkles. Organs begin to lose some function during adulthood. These body changes are the signs of aging. It is important to keep your body healthy, and slow down the degeneration process. Exercise is one of the best ways.

Older adults should go slowly, and should not overdo it. It is important to take things steady, especially if they are just starting a new exercise routine. They may begin with 20-30 minutes per day, or split their exercise into shorter sessions of 10-15 minutes, and should exercise regularly at least 2-3 days per week.

Exercise is divided into 3 types: 

  1. Exercise for cardiovascular endurance, including brisk walking, jogging, swimming, walking in water, walking with arm swinging, cycling or walking on a treadmill.
  2. Exercise for muscular strength, including lightweight lifting, exercise with resistance bands, or other physical exercises.
  3. Exercise for balance training, including Tai Chi, ballroom dancing, yoga for balance and muscle stretching, marching on the spot, or standing on one leg.

Older adults should include all 3 types of exercises and choose the appropriate exercises based on their individual health conditions. Most importantly, we should exercise safely, slowly and regularly so as to improve the physical and mental health.

Benefits of Exercise

  • Improves muscular strength through movements
  • Improves functions of respiratory and cardiovascular systems
  • Improves mental health and promote better sleep
  • Reduces stomach bloating, distended stomach and constipation
  • Improves balance and helps reduce the risk of falling

In case of shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, heart palpitations, cold sweating, heaviness in the arms and legs, and dizziness during exercise, please stop and consult a doctor.


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Tippapa Chutikankosol, M.D. Summary: Geriatric Medicine