Good News About Senior Fitness


May 26 is among two National Senior Health and Fitness Days this year. The theme? Life is better in motion. The private-public good health partnership is organized by the Mature Market Resource Center, a clearinghouse for professionals who work with older adults.

Life is better in motion

So, we did a little research to figure out the why behind this year’s slogan of ‘Life is better in motion.’

Here’s what we found out:

Fitness and cognitive ability are closely connected.

  • A higher level of fitness can protect the brain, according to one study. Researchers evaluated 66 adults, average age 68, gauging their fitness as they rode exercise bikes, then testing their thinking abilities. The fitter they were, the better their executive function (tasks such as attention control, memory).

There’s no need to take it easy (if your doctor approves).

We’ve all heard at some point that we should slow down our exercise intensity with age. However, Mayo Clinic experts say that training known as HIIT (high-intensity interval training) may be good at any age. It’s based on working out at high intensity for 30 seconds to a couple minutes, then backing off, then repeating. In those over age 65, HIIT appeared to boost the muscle’s ability to produce energy and trigger the growth of new muscle, helping to counteract the muscle loss that comes with birthdays. Caveat: get pro help and combine HIIT with lighter exercise in between.

Get fit, get better sleep.

Researchers looked at more than 24,000 adults 65 and up in Taiwan, assessing their physical fitness and their sleep. They divided them into four groups based on fitness levels. The fitter they were, the better their long sleep duration (8 hours or more). That means paying attention to senior health and fitness means better sack time!

Exercise FTW! 

Two personal trainers who specialize in helping older adults find the same results with their clients as the experts above did.  Gone are the days of ”treating older adults like a different species” when it comes to exercise, says Sabrena Jo, MS, director of science and research at the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and an ACE-certified personal trainer and coach in Lawrence, KS.

“Older adults who have depression often get improved mood once they start or resume exercise”

Whether an older adult has been a lifelong exerciser or is a late bloomer, she finds, great results can be gotten from exercise.

Older adults who have depression often get improved mood once they start or resume exercise, says Lori Michiel, a National Association of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer in Southern California. She also notices those with diabetes may be able to lower their medication doses, as their blood sugar drops with regular exercise.

You can always find free online senior health and fitness classes at Senior Planet, by just visiting here….and stay tuned for information about Senior Planet’s own Senior Fitness Day May 26. This all day event with various fitness and wellness activities throughout the day online – culminating in a special fitness event from 3 – 5 pm EST.

This article offered by Senior Planet and Older Adults Technology Services is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

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