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Healthy Lifestyles for Seniors (cont.)

Exercise for Seniors

Regular physical activity and exercise are known to control or even prevent a variety of health conditions in the elderly. Benefits of exercise in seniors are documented in heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, certain cancers, depression, and stroke.

More specifically, regular exercise is shown to be beneficial in:

  • Maintaining weight and burning excess calories
  • Improving the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol
  • Building up physical endurance
  • Optimizing health of the heart, lung, vascular system, bones, and muscles delivering oxygen and nutrients to tissues
  • Reducing falls and injuries
  • Enhancing mood and sleep quality

Adequate exercise for seniors may consist of a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise which increases the heart rate to about 75% of maximum predicted heart rate, performed 3-5 times per week. A person's maximum heart rate is roughly calculated by subtracting age from the number 220.

These goals can be achieved by such safe and basic exercises as, walking, swimming, and using exercise machines. Balance exercises, flexibility exercises, and resistance exercises (weight lifting) can also be helpful.

If symptoms of chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath, fainting, or dizziness occur during or after any exercise, it is important to stop and notify your treating physician promptly.

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