As we get older, people generally limit the movement of their bodies. In fact, not actively moving actually makes them more at risk of suffering from various chronic diseases.
The older you are, the more important the role of sports. Most elderly people spend time not doing activities that are too heavy, such as sitting or lying down. As a result, they experience more frequent health problems, ranging from back pain to feeling tired quickly. Conversely, staying active in old age makes you healthier, more productive and happy.
Benefits of Sports for the Elderly
It’s never too late to make lifestyle changes. If you haven’t adopted a healthy lifestyle at a younger age, you can still make a big difference by changing your lifestyle in old age.
Many scientific studies have found that actively moving can make a person avoid various mild to severe illnesses. Among others:
- Joint disease or arthritis. Morning run can strengthen the knee and joint. If you already have arthritis or joint problems, walking or light activity can reduce the pain
- Heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and several types of cancer. Actively moving can accelerate blood circulation and metabolism, thereby preventing the risks that cause diseases related to aging.
- Alzheimer’s and dementia. Exercise or active movement every day helps the formation of brain cells and facilitate blood flow to the brain. Body movements keep the mind sharp and reduce the risk of memory impairment.
- Mental disorders. Just relaxing walking every day can prevent the decline in mental function that generally accompanies aging and can refer to depression.
Stay Active Move
Active move does not always mean having to exercise like football, tennis, or badminton. This physical activity can be in the form of playing with grandchildren, maintaining a home garden, swimming, cycling or walking casually in the afternoon. The basic step is to make sure that you don’t stay too long in a sitting or lying position, like watching TV on the couch or reading a book.
Furthermore, exercise is one way to maximize the benefits of active movement for the body. Aim to do moderate intensity exercise, at least 150 minutes every week. One way to achieve this is to exercise 5 times per week, at least 30 minutes every day.
Examples of sports that the elderly can do include:
- On foot. Choose the ups and downs that will increase your intensity and effort. This activity burns calories, strengthens the heart, and smoothes your blood vessel system.
- Cycling is a sport that strengthens the lower part of the body and improves heart performance. Pay attention to the bicycle saddle and grip settings to avoid pelvic injuries.
- Moving your body while accompanied by music together with a partner or friend can provide you entertainment as well as fitness.
- Swimming is a sport that involves the activity of almost all body muscles. Breathing exercises during swimming are also useful for strengthening the heart.
- Pilates can help increase muscle strength and improve body posture. This exercise should be done under the guidance of an instructor.
- Doing yoga regularly can help you in controlling your emotions, increasing flexibility, strength, and body balance.
- Tai chi. Body art originating from ancient China does not aim to improve fitness. Its slow and controlled movements help increase flexibility, balance, and body strength.
- Having sex. In old age, children have moved away from home so you can be more free to move with your partner, including having sex. At this age, you are also more free to manage the time compared to when young.
- Balance exercise. Elderly who experience falls can experience serious injury as the bones are not as strong as before. Practicing balance can reduce that risk. Exercise can be done, among others, by standing on one foot or walking on tiptoe. Body sports like tai chi can also help train balance.
But keep in mind that not all elderly can do all types of sports. Some sports exacerbate the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease or rheumatism. Always consult the sport that you will do to the doctor.