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Is Exercise Safe for Seniors older than 65?

September 29, 2016

The answer is … Yes! According to a British Medical Journal (Gene Feder, Colin Cryer, Sheila Donovan, Yvonne Carter on behalf of the guidelines’ development group. “Guidelines for the prevention of falls in people over 65”. BMJ 2000; 321:1007), a number of multifaceted interventions proved beneficial for seniors over the age of 65 in reducing the risk of falls. These include exercises such as strengthening of muscle and training of balance. Tai Chi (Chinese Martial art which involves breathing and movement) also showed evidence of improving such risk.

As with all ages, additional physical activity can be beneficial for almost all of our ageing population. Regular exercise prevents chronic disease, reduces risk of injury and can improve your mood. A number of medical conditions are improved with exercise, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure and obesity. Therefore, exercising regular far outweighs the risks of not exercising. It is paramount that you are guided by a qualified professional to ensure safety based on your ability.

Some of the recommended exercises for Seniors surrounding this age group include:

  1. Aerobic/Endurance – this may include walking, swimming or cycling. This form of exercise is designed to improve your cardiovascular fitness and circulation. Over time you can expect not to get as tired when conducting daily activities.
  2. Strength and Resistance – this form or exercise can be with bodyweight or resistance bands and are conducted in the form or repetitions. Weight bearing exercise can help strengthen bones, improve balance and subsequently help with fall prevention.
  3. Stretching and Flexibility – this area is important before and after exercise or even to relax the mind and body. By conducting a daily routine in this area will help improve mobility and support regular exercise.

Note there are some people whose physical abilities are limited by medical conditions or general frailty. These seniors however, don’t have to miss out on exercise completely, but more care is taken when considering a regime. Seek proper instruction and guidance by qualified professionals when doing so. Exercise is even more important for generally frail people as they can be more prone to falls and broken bones.

Try activities in a class setting with proper supervision by a trained professional. Consider swimming, cycling, walking, Tai Chi or classes in your area specific to Seniors. Tazfit operate a weekly seated exercise class in Blackmans Bay each Thursday at 10am to improve Strength, Balance, Mobility and Flexibility. Further details at www.tazfitgroup.com.

By Dan Lemoto (Director of Tazfit, Exercise Leader for Tazfit’s Aged Care Exercise Program, Blackmans Bay)

Carbohydrates – essential for good food balance

June 19-20, 2010

This week DAN LEMOTO from Bootcamp Kingston provides Kingborough Chronicle readers with another great article about something that is vital for our body to produce energy – Carbohydrates.

Most of our energy comes from Protein, Fats and Carbohydrates (Carbs). Today we will look at Carbs and how they benefit us.

Broken down, Carbs are made up of elements known as carbon, hydrogen and oxygen ie (H2O or water). Carbon is arguably the single most important element as it plays a major role in building large biological molecules necessary for human life. If you did not have this element you would be just a pile of loose atoms – Not a good look.

As you are aware of how important water is from our previous Hydration article, we are made up of at least 60 per cent water, hence we must keep hydrated daily. Carbs are also known as macronutrients. Macronutrients are nutrients the body requires in large amounts as opposed to micronutrients (small amounts) such as vitamins and minerals.

Primarily, Carbs fuel the body’s energy to power muscular contractions and proper organ function. In other words, they contribute to the energy we need to perform our daily activities, exercise and/or sport.

Carbs are found in a wide range of foods we eat such as bread, pasta, cereals, potatoes and rice. Other sources of Carbs include fruit and vegetables and some dairy products. Categorically, there are two types of Carbs - Simple and Complex.

Simple Carbs are sugars such as lollies, fizzy drinks and juice. Complex Carbs are starches, fibre, glycogen and dextrin. Some examples of Complex Carbs include whole grain products, vegetables, and fruits.

Regardless of the type of Carbs we consume, they are both broken down when digested and are converted into energy. Simple Carbs are quickly digested and can therefore give you a boost in energy (blood-glucose levels) in a short time. This can be ideal before an intense workout, but not desirable as a snack/meal as you may become hungry and tired.

Complex Carbs on the other hand take longer to be released into the body (slow changes in blood-glucose due to taking longer to digest). Consequently, this gives more sustained energy consumption over a longer period of time. They are also low in fat, high in fibre and contain vitamins and minerals.

In terms of energy from Carbs, a guide known as the Glycemic Index (GI) is used for determining how quick blood-glucose levels may rise from consuming various carbohydrates. Although it is only a guide, Simple Carbs (Hi GI) usually score above 70 and Complex Carbs (Low GI) are foods below 55. If you consume too much sugar we therefore store it as fat, thereby increasing body weight. The reason for this is that the body can only store so much energy (stored Carb reserves ie glycogen).

If we use all of our energy that has been stored in the body from Carbs, then our body uses fats and proteins to provide our energy. Going one step further, once these stores begin to diminish as in starvation, there is potential to lose muscle tissue.

It is important to therefore maintain a balance of Carbs based on your daily activities and health goals. Energy in is energy out. Even when considering LowCarb diets, it is vital you are still getting enough Carbs to maintain optimum health. In addition, eating adequate portions and being in control of what you eat will help you make better decisions about your Carb intake. Some healthy Carbs include spinach, lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, brown rice, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, muesli, whole oats, low-fat yoghurt, skim milk, apples, oranges, strawberries, pears, kidney beans, lentils, soy beans and multi-grain bread.

Here are some of not so healthy Carbs you want to keep to a minimum – table sugar, corn syrup, fruit juice, fizzy drinks, lollies, all baked goods/pasta/bread made with white flour, most packaged cereals and cakes. Basically if the label lists sugar, sucrose, fructose, white/wheat flour, corn syrup, they contain simple carbohydrates.

So again, ensure you maintain a balanced healthy nutritious meal/hydration plan throughout the day to meet your physical and mental demands and remember - Good Carbs are better than no Carbs! Here is a quote from Olympic and Commonwealth Swimmer, Sharron Davies: “Carbohydrates are essential for good food balance".

By Dan Lemoto