2 Your Health: Exercise for the active adult


Mary L. Sherwood, Family Nurse Practitioner

Moderate physical activity is good for people of all ages and ability levels. The benefits of older active adults who exercise regularly far outweigh the risks. Even elderly people with chronic illnesses can exercise safely. Studies have shown that many medical conditions are improved with exercise, including Alzheimer’s dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure and obesity. Regular exercise provides a multitude of health benefits and is also associated with decreased incident of death related to age related diseases in the older adult. Exercise has been shown to improve functional reach and balance and reduce the fear of falling. Regular exercise improves the following:

Immune function: Healthy strong bodies can fight off infection and sickness more easily and quickly.

Cardio-respiratory and Cardiovascular Function: Frequent physical activity lowers the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

Bone Density and Risk of Osteoporosis: Exercise prevents loss of bone mass and bone density. Strength training has been shown to dramatically contribute to better balance and less fractures.

Gastrointestinal Function: Regular exercise increases metabolism which promotes efficient elimination of waste and encourages digestive health.

Chronic Conditions and Cancer: Physical activity lowers the risk of many diseases. It also helps in the control of arthritis pain.

So, what can we do here at Robson Ranch?

Luckily, we have an excellent Sport and Fitness Center that can accommodate all levels of fitness. It is important for anyone who desires to begin an exercise program to be evaluated by their medical provider and obtain the okay for them to exercise. It is also important to devise a plan of action. There are three important features that will require focus:

1. Aerobic and Endurance Exercises – 30 minutes a day is recommended. It could be walking, cycling or swimming. It is acceptable to do three 10-minute periods of exercise daily as a way to begin.

2. Strength and Resistance Training – Strength training with weights, resistance bands, nautilus machine or by using walls, the floor and furniture for resistance are all good examples. Begin by doing one to two sets of 10-15 repetitions with light weights twice a week and exercising all muscle groups throughout those two sessions.

3. Stretching and Flexibility Exercises – Stretching is vital to an exercise regimen. It helps warm up the muscles and joints, prevents injury and reduces muscle soreness and stiffness. Yoga and Pilates are good examples of stretching and flexibility training.

If individual training is just not for you then try activities in a class setting with proper supervision by a trained professional. Again, there are numerous activities available here at the Ranch.

Have fun and good luck in your exercise program!

Mary L. Sherwood, Family Nurse Practitioner and resident of Robson Ranch, works with Tracy Cook, NP, owner of Adult Health Services. For any questions or more information please visit our website: www.adulthealthservices.com.