Exercising is not hard, however, for many people, especially older adults, knowing how, when and where to start exercising is the challenge. Unfortunately, it is a common held belief that you need sophisticated equipment, or be a member of an expensive fitness facility to start exercising. This is simple just not the case.
Most people exercise every day by just walking but many don’t consider this “formal exercise”. Maybe that is because it is easy to do and something you can do any time, anywhere. But walking is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise and walking has many other health benefits such as;
Cardiovascular training is a key component of a balance exercise routine. For the older adult the benefits are many;
- Lowering of the resting heart rate.
- Decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Keep resting blood pressure normal
- Improve heart efficiency during physical exertion.
- Weight control
- Help maintain agility, balance and coordination to reduce the risk of falls.
- Increase your energy and stamina
- Stress management
The structure and function of the cardiovascular system (arteries, veins, heart and lungs) and the ability of the components to work together is critical for healthy, functional and independent living. As we age, activities that seemed relatively easy to perform just a few years earlier become more difficult as our ability to produce the needed energy to perform work declines.
The wall of the chamber of the heart that pumps blood to the rest of the body increases in thickness by about 30% beginning at around age 25. This wall thickness may be in response to an age related increase in blood pressure. The aorta and arterial tree (the arteries that deliver blood to your muscles and organs) also become thicker and less compliant with age. As well, with age the heart and blood vessels become less sensitive to neurological stimulation. This means that the aging heart can’t achieve maximum heart rates that were possible during your younger years and blood pressure reflexes that accommodate for a change in pressure as we change positions from sitting to standing do not respond well and this often results in dizziness, confusion, weakness or fainting as the older adult stands up.