Fitness in old age – achieving a great deal with just a little
How to stay fit and healthy in old age
Hallo from Bottrop! My name is Kerstin Pröse and I work as the area manager of the Gladbeck-Bottrop-Dorsten social services in the greenest city of the Ruhr metropolis.
Gladbeck-Bottrop-Dorsten social services is active in the fields of support for the elderly, the disabled and the young, as well as qualification and vocational training.
In my day-to-day work, I Personally come into contact a lot with “our” senior citizens, and for me that is one of the best aspects of my work. For this reason I was very pleased that the LIQ (Living in the Quarter) dementia community of the Bottrop social services was the film location for the vloggers Farid Zitoun and Christian Rüger for their latest health video with the important topic “Senior Sports – Fitness in Old Age”.
The lifestyle bloggers share practical tips on the topic of healthy everyday living with facts, and motivate People to “rebel” against their own weaker self. The credo of the Naturheilzentrum Bottrop: Prevention before rehabilitation, is great and worthwhile. And it also fits in well with fitness, because with just a little effort, anyone can manage to stay or become fit in old age.
I regularly see myself with the senior citizens I work with what great effects this can have on health, amongst other things, I would like to tell you about this and how everyone can do something good for themselves.
What does fitness in old age actually mean?
What do I understand by fitness in old age? For me as a care expert, it means being able to continue to participate actively in life. One very important aspect of this is to remain mobile.
Those who can still walk and climb stairs in old age are less restricted and can move more freely and further without assistance. This in turn keeps them independent and also boosts their fitness – a self-reinforcing cycle, so to speak.
For the elderly, above all, this offers security and also the sense of being self-determined and not dependent on others. From my day-to-day work and associated experience, I know how good it is for senior citizens to be able to manage their own daily lives completely independently.
To see the energy and the joie de vivre that this brings, for this alone it is worth overcoming one’s own weaker self.
Staying fit in old age is worthwhile
But the positive effects go much further: Those who stay fit in old age are also better able to meet up with other People, friends as well as relatives, for example, and are thus independent. Everyone knows how important social contact is, because those who only sit at home feel isolated much more quickly. Contact with others keeps us grounded in life and makes People feel valued and needed.
Fit in old age – improved balance?Being fit in old age also means staying more flexible and maintaining better coordination. This can even protect against falls or at least make them less serious, as the magazine Focus, for example, wrote in the article: “Aged 70 and over: Standing up to the infirmity of old age.” And regular physical exercise can even increase well-being, as this interesting Spectrum report “How walks make you particularly happy” reveals.
Besides physical fitness, there is of course also mental fitness as an aspect of the topic “fitness in old age”. I meet senior citizens every day who are absolutely clear and sharp mentally, up to a very old age. Of course, this helps to actively participate in life and feel less “cut off from the world”. Something can be done about that, because that is absolutely worth preserving.
Care and research – what science says:
Of course, in the field of nursing we always draw upon on scientific studies that demonstrate the positive effects of measures. Fortunately, there have been some fascinating studies on the topic of “fitness in old age” in recent years.
I recently read a major study from the USA that was presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Orlando/Florida 2014. This study was able to prove, for example, that a “moderate daily exercise programme” helps senior citizens to slow down the loss of mobility in old age. The medical journal Ärzteblatt has also written about this.
By the same token, a further study of the University of Trondheim showed that regular exercise, especially intense exercise, can slow the natural decrease in maximum oxygen uptake, which in turn is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Fitness in old age: exercise, exercise, exercise
So how can you manage to stay fit or become fit in old age? In my experience, there is no better way to do this than by simply taking exercise. And it really doesn’t matter how much or little you do. Even a regular walk can bring about and maintain a good level of fitness.
One thing that my colleagues in the field of nursing and I notice again and again in our day-to-day work: People who were active in sports in their younger days are usually fitter in old age than those who spent their entire lives as couch potatoes. This is especially true if they suffer from degenerative diseases such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease.
This difference is even noticeable when the Person is no longer actively involved in sport. Fitness in old age thanks to sporting activity as a kind of precautionary measure? At least from my anecdotal experience, this doesn’t seem far-fetched.
An important factor, however: Don’t overdo it. Challenging oneself is essentially a good thing, it has been shown. It helps to take account of the limits of the body and to start slowly.
It is important to stress: that it is never too late to start! I regularly see senior citizens, who previously had little confidence in themselves, blossom once they take just a little exercise (preferably on a regular basis) and become much more active and full of life again.
The best motivation for a healthy and long life?
Writing about the topic has also had a great effect on me Personally: I am now even more motivated to do more for myself and my health.
Do your parents or grandparents keep fit in old age? And do you also do something for your Personal fitness?
Write your answers in the comments, because the topic is fascinating for me professionally and privately. For this reason I am looking forward to hearing from you what you think about it and what your experiences have been. The new perspectives we gain through active discussions with each other can often have a lasting effect on our consciousness and thus on our lives. I would like to use this positive power together with you.
Attractive videos, activities and positive examples from LIQ (Living in the Quarter) as well as more about health and the “fitness in old age” topic can also be found in the new nabo video.
I hope I have been able to motivate you to do something good for yourself and your health. It can even be a lot of fun and bring People together. I am grateful to the Naturheilzentrum for the opportunity to raise awareness about this important issue. If you would like to know more about fitness in old age, please contact me or Farid Zitoun and Christian Rüger at the Naturheilzentrum.
Your Kerstin Pröse