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Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death and hospitalizations in Utahns age 65 and older.

Consequences from a fall can severely limit one’s ability to live independently. Older adults who fall once are twice as likely as their peers to fall again. Despite these statistics, falls do not need to be an inevitable part of aging.

Research has shown that many falls can be prevented. Three major strategies to reduce fall risks are keeping your home safe, managing your medication, and performing regular strength and balance exercises.

The section below provides ideas for individuals, family members, and caregivers to address major fall risks and safety tips for moving about outside the home.

...continue reading "Fall Prevention – Take Action from the Utah Commission on Aging"

Yoga and Stretching Exercises

Do each stretching exercise 3 to 5 times at each session. Slowly and smoothly stretch into the desired position, as far as possible without pain. Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax, breathe, then repeat, trying to stretch farther.

2 older women doing a buddy stretch

Buddy Stretch

older woman doing calf stretch

Calf

older man doing hip stretch

Hip

older woman doing standing thigh stretch with a chair

Thigh (Standing)

thigh exercise on the floor

Thigh (Floor)

older woman doing a back of leg stretch on a bench

Back of Leg

woman doing back of leg stretch on the floor

Back of Leg (Floor)

older woman doing ankle stretch

Ankle

older woman doing back exercise in a chair

Back 2

older man doing a back stretch

Back 1

older woman doing a chest stretch

Chest

older woman doing a shoulder and upper arm stretch with towel

Shoulder and Upper Arm

older man doing a shoulder stretch

Shoulder

woman doing a next stretch

Neck

older woman getting up from the floor

Getting Up from the Floor

woman getting down on the floor

Getting Down on the Floor

Icon: Safety

SAFETY

If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before doing lower-back flexibility exercises.

Progressing

As you become more flexible, try reaching farther in each exercise. But don’t go so far that it hurts.

Upper Body Exercises and Lower Body Exercises

Try to do strength exercises for all of your major muscle groups on 2 or more days per week for 30-minute sessions each, but don’t exercise the same muscle group on any 2 days in a row.

woman doing seated row with band

Seated Row with Resistance Band

woman doing chair dips

Chair Dip

arm curl with resistance bands

Arm Curl with Resistance Band

man doing wall push ups

Wall Push-Up

arm curl

Arm Curl

woman doing side arm raise

Side Arm Raise

man doing front arm raise

Front Arm Raise

woman doing overhead arm raise

Overhead Arm Raise

wrist curl

Wrist Curl

Hand holding a tennis ball

Hand Grip

woman doing stages of elbow extension

Elbow Extension

woman doing toe stand exercise

Toe Stand

man doing stages of chair stand exercise

Chair Stand

woman doing leg straightening exercise

Leg Straightening

man doing knee curl

Knee Curl

woman doing side leg raise

Side Leg Raise

man doing back leg raise

Back Leg Raise

Icon: Safety

SAFETY

Don’t hold your breath during strength exercises. Holding your breath while straining can cause changes in blood pressure. Breathe in slowly through your nose and breathe out slowly through your mouth.

Progressing

Gradually increase the amount of weight you use to build strength. Start out with a weight you can lift only 8 times. Use that weight until you can lift it easily 10 to 15 times. When you can do 2 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions easily, add more weight so that, again, you can lift it only 8 times. Repeat until you reach your goal.

Proper form is a key part of injury prevention, especially with strength training.

If you are new to strength training or it’s been a while since you’ve done a particular exercise, talk with your health care provider to make sure that exercise is appropriate. If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk about which exercises might be best for you.
Older woman using resistance bands in a group exercise class
Safety tips for strength exercises:

...continue reading "Go4Life: Stay Safe! Use Proper Form While Strength Training – NIA"

There are a lot of ways to get the physical activity you need!

If you're thinking, "How can I meet the guidelines each week?" don't worry. You'll be surprised by the variety of activities you have to choose from. To meet the guidelines for aerobic activity, basically anything counts, as long as it's done at a moderate- or vigorous-intensity for at least 10 minutes at a time.

For more help with getting started, watch this video:
Aerobic activity - what counts? video

Windows Media Player, 8:25

Stick With It

By picking physical activities you enjoy and that match your abilities, it will help ensure that you stick with them. If you're not sure where to start, here are some examples.

...continue reading "Adding Physical Activity to Your Life – Center for Disease Control and Prevention"

Instructions for Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale

While doing physical activity, we want you to rate your perception of exertion. This feeling should reflect how heavy and strenuous the exercise feels to you, combining all sensations and feelings of physical stress, effort, and fatigue. Do not concern yourself with any one factor such as leg pain or shortness of breath, but try to focus on your total feeling of exertion.

Look at the rating scale below while you are engaging in an activity; it ranges from 6 to 20, where 6 means "no exertion at all" and 20 means "maximal exertion." Choose the number from below that best describes your level of exertion. This will give you a good idea of the intensity level of your activity, and you can use this information to speed up or slow down your movements to reach your desired range.

...continue reading "Perceived Exertion Scale – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention"

Here are some ways to understand and measure the intensity of aerobic activity: Relative intensity vs Absolute intensity. 

Relative Intensity

The level of effort required by a person to do an activity. When using relative intensity, people pay attention to how physical activity affects their heart rate and breathing.

The talk test is a simple way to measure relative intensity. In general, if you're doing moderate-intensity activity you can talk, but not sing, during the activity. If you're doing vigorous-intensity activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Absolute Intensity

The amount of energy used by the body per minute of activity. The table below lists examples of activities classified as moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity based upon the amount of energy used by the body while doing the activity.

...continue reading "Measuring Physical Activity Intensity – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention"

There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it's at home or the gym. The activities you choose should work all the major muscle groups of your body (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms). You may want to try:

  • Lifting weights
  • Working with resistance bands
  • Doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance (push ups, sit ups)
  • Heavy gardening (digging, shoveling)
  • Yoga

...continue reading "Muscle-strengthening activities – what counts? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention"

Aerobic activity or "cardio" gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster. From pushing a lawn mower, to taking a dance class, to biking to the store – all types of activities count. As long as you're doing them at a moderate or vigorous intensity for at least 10 minutes at a time. Even something as simple as walking is a great way to get the aerobic activity you need, as long as it's at a moderately intense pace.

Intensity is how hard your body is working during aerobic activity.

How do you know if you're doing moderate or vigorous aerobic activity?

...continue reading "Aerobic activity – what counts? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention"

Authors

Abstract

There is evidence from high quality studies to strongly support the positive association between increased levels of physical activity, exercise participation and improved health in older adults.

Worldwide, around 3.2 million deaths per year are being attributed to inactivity. In industrialised countries where people are living longer lives, the levels of chronic health conditions are increasing and the levels of physical activity are declining. Key factors in improving health are exercising at a moderate-to-vigorous level for at least 5 days per week and including both aerobic and strengthening exercises.

Few older adults achieve the level of physical activity or exercise that accompanies health improvements. A challenge for health professionals is to increase physical activity and exercise participation in older adults.

Some success in this has been reported when physicians have given specific, detailed and localised information to their patients, but more high quality research is needed to continue to address this issue of non-participation in physical activity and exercise of a high enough level to ensure health benefits.

...continue reading "Physical activity is medicine for older adults"