A long life in good health – who wouldn't want that?? Numerous studies have shown that People who exercise regularly age more healthily. Even those who have been unathletic all their lives can still start at 60 and quickly achieve success, says Prof. Ingo Frobose. He heads the Center for Health at the German Sport University Cologne.
Improve fitness in old age with moderate exercise sports
Studies show that even the previously untrained can double their muscle strength in just over a year through sport and exercise – even at the age of 60. A comparison with younger people shows how this pays off: Trained 60-year-olds have the same fitness level as 30-year-olds who don't do any sports.
Doing sports in old age keeps you fit and healthy – most people know that. Contrary to popular belief, this is true not only for young people and adults, but also for seniors, even at an advanced age. This is how even people in their 70s or 80s can improve their strength. Improve endurance significantly through moderate training.
The best training is a combination of several disciplines: firstly, endurance training that is easy on the joints, such as cycling or Nordic walking, and secondly, a gymnastics program lasting about ten minutes on three to five days a week. In addition, it helps to consistently integrate exercise into everyday life – with walks and climbing stairs, for example.
Sport in old age should be fun
Many seniors are initially reluctant to engage in sports at an older age for fear of injury or overstrain. In addition, there are often physical limitations that may no longer allow the practice of some sports.
Statistics show that with increasing age, most people are less and less physically active: while 35% of all women and 44% of all men do more than 2.5 hours of intensive, sweaty sports every week, only 18% of men over 65 and 13% of women are still physically active at all. Nevertheless, the basic principle is that you're never too old for sports – it's just a matter of finding the right type of sport and the appropriate level of training for yourself. The main focus should be on having fun while exercising. Less focus on the idea of performance.
Because regular physical exercise has clear health benefits for most people. Even regular brisk walks strengthen muscles, bones, heart and vessels, mobility and endurance.
Adapt training and sport to one's age
Of course, the training must be adapted to the current physical condition. In addition to the age of the person in question, this also includes current illnesses, the health of the heart, blood vessels and muscles, injuries or even the effects of earlier illnesses. For some people, an extra lap around the hallway in a nursing home may be enough; frail people are already required to get up from their chair and sit down again several times.
Other older people, on the other hand, may be so healthy and fit that they can jog small laps or take part in aerobics classes. As a general rule, older people, including frail people in care facilities who have never exercised before, can begin exercise or physical training with guidance and support. Unfortunately, this happens too rarely in reality.
What are the advantages of regular sports in old age??
Sports in old age brings numerous benefits for seniors:
– Physical inactivity is v. a. in old age, one of the main risk factors for increased risk of various diseases and increased mortality. – Physical activity increases life expectancy, counteracts obesity, lowers blood prere and the risk of stroke, high blood prere, cancer and injuries (from falls or accidents). – Regular exercise promotes mental and physical health, improves functionality, balance, body control, counteracts the development of impaired glucose metabolism, and reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. It counteracts the risk of diabetes mellitus and significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality (up to 50%). – In addition, exercise in old age is beneficial for the prevention of osteoporosis and some joint diseases. – Exercise reduces the natural loss of muscle mass and the gradual loss of muscle endurance, it reduces the loss of physical fitness, it improves balance and body control, which in turn reduces the risk of falls. – It reduces the risk of certain types of cancer. – Sleep becomes better. – Prevents depression, improves general functioning and boosts self-confidence. – A trained heart does more for seniors
Jogging, swimming and cycling are optimal sports to train your heart in old age.
People who regularly do endurance sports have a bigger and stronger heart than non-athletes. Instead of about 20 liters, the heart of an endurance athlete can pump up to 35 liters through the body per minute. The oxygen supply is also better in trained people.
According to the Professional Association of German Internists e.V. (BDI), people over the age of 50 are most efficient in endurance sports. These include jogging, swimming, cycling, walking and hiking. The German Heart Foundation recommends more intensive, endurance-based exercise four to five times a week for at least half an hour.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also advises being active for about 150 minutes a week. This also includes exercise in everyday life such as walking, gardening and climbing stairs.
Three sports seniors can do to keep their hearts fit:
Jogging: Jogging is also suitable for older people. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to work up a sweat but still be able to converse. Walking is gentler than jogging because the joints are not constantly exposed to shocks. Walking also strengthens the arm muscles. If you can walk at a brisk pace, you can train up to 90 percent of your muscles.
Swimming: Swimming is a good choice if you have joint problems. In water, less weight rests on the joints. Those who like water and enjoy jogging can try aqua-jogging. The risk of injury is also low when swimming. Caution: Patients with coronary heart disease should slowly acclimate their bodies to water if the water temperature is below 27 °C. The cold stimulus can cause severe vasoconstriction.
Cycling: Cycling is also easy on the joints. When strength decreases on inclines, an e-bike is a practical support. If you like cycling but prefer to stay at home in bad weather, you can use an exercise bike (bicycle ergometer) to strengthen your heart. What can additionally motivate: You can watch TV or listen to music while exercising. In addition, road traffic. Also reduces the risk of falls.
Here's what experts recommend when it comes to exercise in old age:
– A total of at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes at a time of intense exercise or walking every week. A combination of moderately strenuous and intense exercise – Adults and older people in particular should also do strength training and balance exercises 2 to 3 times/week.
Sport in old age – what needs to be considered? In principle, seniors can engage in almost all types of sports. Also practice their favorite sport from the past. Because movement patterns learned at a young age can often be recalled at an older age. If you have been walking regularly in the park since you were a child, you can still do this now.
However, there are also some sports that, if practiced incorrectly, can put a lot of strain on the body and joints and often result in injuries. Jogging or ball sports with abrupt stop movements and short but strong phases of exertion (for example soccer or handball) are therefore less suitable for untrained seniors. Better then are sports that are easy on the joints and gently strengthen endurance, coordination and power. It is also important that they are easy to learn resp. that the re-entry is uncomplicated.
See your doctor before you start training
If you suffer from illnesses, injuries or other ailments, it may be advisable to first consult your family doctor to find out if there is anything special to consider before starting to exercise. Special care should be taken with some heart conditions.
Newcomers to sports should approach this training volume slowly in order not to overstrain the heart and joints. The most important measure for seniors who want to start exercising is a check-up with a doctor. The Check-up 35, for example, is covered by health insurance every two years from the age of 35.
In addition to the general state of health, the performance of the heart is determined with the help of a stress ECG. Afterwards, the intensity of training, the frequency of training and the appropriate type of sport to start can be discussed.
Important points and basics for exercise in old age:
– Whatever sport you choose and whatever your doctor advises, the important thing is to take it slow. While your body should be challenged to a certain extent, never overwork it! – Listen to your body, if exercise is too strenuous and the load is too high, stop exercising. Keep the motivation. Do not force yourself to do anything. Do sport only voluntarily. If you also enjoy exercise. – Practice different types of sports to train different muscle groups. This strengthens the entire body.
Sport in old age with endurance, strength and mobility
The combination of endurance, strength and mobility make up the ideal sport for seniors. This covers many areas of health. Versatile training can bring about quick results such as a higher load limit and achieve the strongest training effects. These will also benefit you in your everyday life: you will notice that you have more energy and that many things are easier for you, which previously caused you trouble.
Endurance training for seniors
Endurance training helps you to be able to cope with effort and let fatigue set in later. It also strengthens your musculoskeletal system, which for seniors means preventing falls.
Since it takes longer to increase endurance as you age, continuous training is worth a lot. In order to achieve results, you should do moderate endurance sports three to five times a week. With motivation you will succeed in regular training sessions. Make an appointment with like-minded people for long walks or "running groups"; this is much more fun than doing it alone.
The perfect strength training for seniors
Strength training twice a week helps to stop the decline of muscle mass.
Strength training for health reasons is not aimed at targeted muscle building for aesthetic reasons. Instead, especially with increasing age, the health-promoting effects of weight training become more important. Focus on the preventive aspects of strength training. Older people can make a significant contribution to their health by exercising their muscles regularly. The heart, lungs and circulation work better, high blood prere is reduced and blood lipid levels are also positively influenced. Also, inflammatory processes can often be curbed through physical activity. The risk of osteoporosis can be reduced by a dosed load on the bones. Targeted strength training for seniors keeps the body going. Slows down the loss of important muscle mass in old age. Fitness training has a positive effect on life expectancy even in old age.
It is enough to train the most important muscle groups with your own body weight or small dumbbells twice a week for about 15-20 minutes. These are especially the arms and shoulders, the abdomen, back and thighs. If you want to exercise your legs, you can also stand next to or behind a chair, hold on to the backrest and do some effective exercises there.
The best sports for seniors
Get out into nature: Nordic walking is especially popular with seniors.
Classics among sports for seniors are walking and Nordic walking. In simple terms, fast walking in the fresh air gets the whole body going, improves endurance and improves the performance of the cardiovascular system. Vibration-free walking also protects the joints, and is therefore also suitable for people with osteoarthritis.
Swimming is also a good way to protect your joints, because the water provides buoyancy and less weight is placed on the joints. Swimmers don't feel "weightless" for nothing. Other plus points: Swimming has a very low risk of injury, improves endurance and strengthens the cardiovascular system.
Many clubs and fitness studios now offer gymnastics courses specifically for older participants. These offers train muscle strength, coordination and endurance in equal measure. The trainers are well acquainted with the needs of their course participants. Offer exercises for every level of ability. In many gyms, the teams are specially adapted to seniors and explain in detail how to use the equipment and facilities in a way that is easy on the body.
If you want to find your moving happiness outside of fixed sports groups, you can also benefit from increased movement in everyday life or from exercising at home. Sports at home have the advantage that seniors are more independent of time and weather. Suggestions for this can be found in numerous guidebooks and information brochures. The doctor or pharmacist will be happy to help.
Where can seniors do sports?
As you can see, the offer is varied – for sports enthusiasts as well as for beginners. Now it's just a matter of finding the right facility for regular exercise. Is there a gym near you? It is best to choose one with a physiotherapeutic approach. Here you can have a training plan drawn up for strength and endurance training and for your individual needs.
Does the indoor pool near you offer classes for swimming technique or water fitness? Ask and have the procedure explained to you. Is there an adult education center in your hometown?? Ask for the current semester schedule. Browse for suitable offers.
Research nearby sports clubs. They offer several sports for a monthly fee, so you can try out different ones. Through the clubs, groups of sports enthusiasts also usually meet in the fresh air and pursue their hobby together. Perhaps you also have friends or acquaintances with whom you can meet to train together?
If you want to exercise independently of courses and clubs, consult a general practitioner or sports physician beforehand. Get shown movement sequences and exercises that you can copy at home. Find a place to do your exercises. Get out into nature and use a bench for stretching exercises or a suitable track for endurance sports.
A straight, quiet path or a slight incline are ideal. If you run on asphalt, you can equip yourself with the appropriate shoes, which will cushion your weight very well.
Sports for seniors also at home. With these devices it succeeds:
– Small hand weights – An elastic band – An exercise ball – Weight cuffs with a low weight – A good sleeping mat or sports mat – Balance cushions
How to exercise properly in old age?
Sport beginners are advised not to train short and intensive, but longer and with a moderate heart rate. Experienced and trained athletes, on the other hand, who want to increase their performance, should raise their pulse every now and then during intensive training sessions (see maximum pulse above).
In general, 80 percent of the training should take place in the so-called "aerobic zone". In this form of energy production, oxygen is consumed in the burning of carbohydrates and fats. The aerobic energy metabolism takes place at low or. moderate training load instead of. What heart rate this corresponds to varies from person to person.
Here, too, a relatively simple rule can help you find your aerobic zone: If you need four steps to inhale once while running and four more steps to exhale once, you are roughly at the aerobic threshold. If you manage fewer steps per breath, you are most likely already in the anaerobic zone (source: apotheken-umschau.de).
What is the training pulse?
180 minus age = The optimal training pulse for sports in old age
In order to train in the best possible way and to increase your performance in the long run, it is important to know your optimal training pulse. This varies depending on age, gender and training level. Since you should not overwork your heart, you should make sure that you do not exceed your maximum heart rate. The maximum pulse rate reflects the highest possible pulse rate, which occurs at maximum load. On average it is around. 220 beats per minute minus your age.
For a 30-year-old, the maximum pulse would therefore be 190. The resting pulse, on the other hand, is on average 60 to 80 beats per minute for healthy adults. The better trained someone is, the lower his resting pulse is. Thus, in well-trained endurance athletes, the resting pulse can even drop to 40 beats per minute. The reason for this: Regular training increases the size of the heart. Can pump blood through the body in this way with fewer heartbeats.
180 minus age = The optimal training pulse rate
The optimal training pulse is located between the resting pulse and the maximum pulse. When you exercise and thus strain your heart, it beats more often because it has to carry more oxygen through the body. The training pulse depends on the age, training condition and resting pulse and should be measured immediately after the training, because immediately after the interruption the pulse drops again and the result is thus falsified. But where is this optimal training pulse? A well-known rule of thumb says "180 beats minus your age". For a 30 year old this would be a pulse of 150. However, this rule applies more to untrained people, as it can be ensured that the person does not physically overexert himself or herself in this heart rate range. overexerted.
How to measure the pulse?
There are different ways to measure the pulse. On the one hand, this can be done by means of a pulse watch or manually with the help of the fingers. On the other hand, one can measure the pulse at different points. Here, in addition to the pulse of the carotid artery (Arteria carotis communis), the wrist pulse (Arteria radialis) is best, as it can be easily felt.
The following is based on wrist pulse: First, get a watch with a second hand ready, and then place your index, middle, and ring fingers directly below the carpus (the "extension" of your thumb, so to speak) on the inside of your forearm. Palpate the radius and apply light prere to the artery with your fingertips. Count 15 seconds or. pulse beats for 30 seconds. Multiply the value by four or. with two, so that you finally get the number of pulse beats per minute. You should not measure the pulse with your thumb, because its own pulse can lead to a distorted result. If you have a very irregular pulse, it is recommended from the outset to count the pulse beats for 60 seconds. If your pulse is constantly irregular, you should see a doctor. Note, however, that the result is only a guide and that one's own pulse may differ from the guide value.
Conclusion on sport in old age
Sports can be done at any age. With low-impact sports and the right professional guidance, exercise for seniors can effectively support health. The training of endurance, strength and mobility promotes muscle development, the cardiovascular system and the entire musculoskeletal system.
Choose a sport that you enjoy and that doesn't overwhelm you. This way you will keep your motivation for regular activity, which is the basis for the success of your training. Find like-minded people. Drive each other on. Choose a healthier lifestyle now and start exercising for seniors, because it's never too late for that!