The older you get the more important it is to be as active as possible. Keep active to reduce the risk of falling Regular exercise helps to maintain strength, flexibility and energy levels. So if you getting older and noticing you can’t do some of the things you used to do and are becoming less independent, then you need to exercise. It is never too late to start exercising as you can start gradually. The government advises to limit the amount of time sitting still. Start small and try to build up to the point where you can do more moderate intensity activities which make you breath harder and get your heart pumping faster.
Our NHS advises that anyone who is generally fit and over 65 needs to do two types of physical activity each week to improve health: aerobic and strength exercises. It is recommended that you do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and strength exercises. Moderate aerobic activities are anything that raises your heart rate to make your breath faster and feel warmer. Daily chores such as shopping, housework and cooking do not count as this doesn’t raise your heart rate enough. Try taking a brisk walk or doing some gardening, perhaps join a dancing or yoga class.
There are a number of aerobic fitness videos on the NHS website to follow. Click here. There are sections for Aerobic exercises, Strength and Resistances, Pilates and Yoga and other fitness plans. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do everything in the videos, just by trying and moving will help. If you make them part of your weekly routine you will soon see yourself improving and managing to keep up.
How to Improve your Strength and Balance
If you’re struggling to get out of a chair then you need to do activities that improve your muscle strength. By improving your muscle strength in your arms, legs, back, shoulders and chest, this will improve your posture, co-ordination and balance. By improving your posture, co-ordination and balance will in turn will reduce your risk of falling. Exercises that improve strength and balance include sports such as badminton, ballroom dancing, yoga, pilates, swimming and walking. If you have stairs and are safe to use them, do so as often as possible. Repeat rising to a standing position from a chair a few times, each time you have to get up. Again there are videos to follow on the NHS website: Click here.
Keep It Up
Once you have worked out which is the best physical activities for you to do, get started and keep at it. Try to do a bit more each day. After you start exercising you may find that you muscles feel a bit stiff, this is normal and proves you are benefiting from the activity. What is important is to do warm up and cool down exercises. Simple stretch exercises which stretch all regions of your body.
Boost your Serotonin Levels and Beat Depression
You may be surprised to find that you actually enjoy doing exercise and feel happier because of it. This is because exercise increases brain serotonin which influences mood. High levels of serotonin are associated with an elevated mood while low levels are associated with depression. Its levels are influenced by external factors, such as sunlight, diet and exercise. So if you eat healthily, get out and about in the sunlight (even a cloudy day does omit sunlight), do regular exercise you will feel much better in yourself. The exact mechanism is not clearly understood; however, it is clear that aerobic exercise improves mood through increasing brain serotonin levels.
How to Keep Bones Healthy
The strength of your bones will make a big difference to the effect of a fall. Weight-bearing exercises such as brisk walking, bowls and tennis all help to keep bones strong. As well as exercise you should be making sure you get enough vitamin D. You can get vitamin D by eating salmon, oily fish, eggs and fortified spreads, but sunshine is the main source.
The government recommends you should get some direct sun exposure for about 10 minutes a day between April and October. Getting sun from sitting in a conservatory (behind glass) will not help. You need direct sun exposure without sunscreen, but just 10 minutes a day is enough for your body to make vitamin D. The government also recommend that those 65 of over take a 10 milligrams of a vitamin D supplement daily. Those that are housebound, have darker skin or cover skin for culture reason will need to see their GP.
Make Your Home a Safer Environment
It is important that your home is a safe place to live in. There is little point doing exercise, eating healthily if your home environment is not elderly friendly. Your home needs to have good lighting, especially on the stairs. Stairs should have hand rails on both sides. Carpets that are fraying or electrical wires can cause accidents. If you can’t afford new carpet, tape over the frayed sections and hide or tape down electrical wires. Check that rooms and hallways are clutter free. If you have a cat or small dog, give them a collar with a bell on it so you can hear them and won’t get under your feet without you realising. Ensure garden paths are clear and free from moss. Check for uneven paths and slippery surfaces. Cleverly placed handrails will help keep you safe in the garden.
Your bathroom is one area where most slips and falls happen. This is our experise and where we can help. WISAB install bathrooms specifically designed to keep the elderly and disabled safe in their homes. Non slip mats and hand rails in the bathroom are a must, as is good lighting. But if you struggle to get in and out of a bath, then a walk in bath or walk in shower enclosure would solve this issue. If you have severe mobility disabilities then our disabled showers and bathing aids can help.
Check for Home Hazards
If you have children or more able bodied friends ask them to carry out a safety check. If they are not sure what to look for, get them to ask Age UK as they will be happy to send you a guide. Also many councils offer home safety checks. So call your council and ask them, if your council doesn’t, then contact your local AGE UK as they can help as long as you meet certain criteria.
Source: All of this information is advised by the government, NHS and Age UK.
Age UK England: 0800 169 65 65
Age Scotland: 0800 470 8090
Age Wales: 0800 022 3444
Age NI: 0808 808 7575
Home Improvement Agency’s
For England contact Foundations 0300 124 0315
For Wales contact Care & Repair Cymru 0300 111 333
For Scotland contact Care and Repair Scotland 0141 221 9879