Having a workout regularly is more important for the elderly than most people think, according to a new research, The Straits Times reported.
Exercise for better mobility
While many seniors are put in bed or on wheelchairs by their caregivers, recent research shows that getting them to go to the gym would benefit them more.
180 seniors were monitored over a three month period, exercising twice a week with special fitness equipment. They had an average age of 72 years old. After the three months, they were found to have better balance, and increased mobility, being able to stand and walk for longer periods of time.
Better fitness and mobility means that the elderly can become more independent, and more capable of doing daily tasks on their own.
This is not the first time researchers have suggested regular exercise for seniors. The benefits of working out for the elderly has been well-documented. Finland, “one of the first countries to push for strength training for the elderly” in the 1990s, now sees more than 90 per cent of its senior citizens above 75 living independently.
In addition, the lack of exercise is detrimental. The World Health Organisation reports that “Physical inactivity is the fourth biggest factor contributing to deaths globally”.
Lesser risk of injury
“Every 32 minutes, an elderly person turns up at a public hospital emergency department because of an injury from a fall”, statistics show. More worryingly, the “number of hip fractures among people aged 50 or older treated at public hospitals rose from 1,900 in 2004 to 2,500 in 2014 – with half of them involving those aged 80 or older.”
To prevent injuries, research revealed that these falls can be reduced by up to half with “strength and balance training”.
Exercise equipment in eldercare homes
The research used special gym equipment from Finland, featuring “an air-pressure system that is gentler on muscles and joints”.
Currently, these equipment are available in 16 nursing homes and eldercare centres for approximately 1000 senior citizens. By 2018, an estimated 4,500 seniors will be able to gain access to these machines.