Seniors are constantly encouraged to maintain active lifestyles. Whether its climbing stairs, maintaining balance or standing from a seated position, these tasks can become extremely difficult as muscles weaken and joints stiffen.
However, through systematic training, these processes can also be slowed or even reversed. Resistance training or weightlifting is one of the most effective ways to maintain or improve strength in seniors. Its benefits are not limited to prototypical ideals, but also serve as legitimate rehabilitative tools. Along with increased strength, regular weightlifting can also improve balance, flexibility and coordination.
At Philadelphia Home Care Assistance, our caregivers encourage regular activity for all of our senior clients, but it is important to know that caution is advised when first starting a program. In order to ensure safety for seniors, it is recommended that an appointment is scheduled with the doctor before beginning an exercise regimen to determine which activities are appropriate for current abilities. Professional help in the form of a trainer is also a great idea. Their expertise can ensure the development good habits of adherence, and can reduce the likelihood of injury.
Whether a beginner decides to train independently or with a professional, there are several different types of weightlifting equipment that seniors and their caregivers should know about. Free weights require more balance and coordination. Machine weights also improve strength but do not require the same skill level to execute movements and therefore may be more appropriate for the beginning senior. As strength improves, a gradual transition to or mix of machine and free weight exercises can be implemented.
Seniors also need to know their limitations. Not all exercises are created equal. While certain exercises may be perfect for some, they can be detrimental for others. Because the wrong type of exercises can further exacerbate or create long term health problems, and ultimately negate the original intent of resistance training, it is important to do exercises that can be completed with relative ease.
Regardless of the mode, all weightlifting programs should include a progressive plan that encourages lifetime fitness! For more information about senior exercise, reach out to the friendly Care Managers at Home Care Assistance of Philadelphia and learn how we can help your aging parent or loved one exercise on a regular basis. Call 215-645-4663 for more information or schedule a complimentary, in-home consultation and learn more about our services including hourly and live-in care in Philadelphia.