04 November Sport for the elderly
At an older age, sport can be played recreationally or competitively. Research on recreational seniors and master athletes has shown many sports benefits.
Sport can offer even more social, mental and cognitive possibilities health benefits than other forms of exercise because of the social interactions and decision-making elements that frequently occur during sport.
Many of these benefits can be achieved with just one or two sessions per week.
Benefits of sport for the elderly
|↑ Muscle strength and endurance||Meet more people||↑ Quality of life||↑ Cognitive function and decision making|
|↓ Body fat ↑ Muscle and bone mass||Be part of a community||↑ Self-esteem||↓ Risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease|
|↑ Immune function and ↓ Risk of chronic diseases (breast and colon cancer, heart disease, hypertension, type II diabetes)||↑ Social support||↓ Anxiety and depression||↓ Memory error|
|↑ Quality of sleep and ability to cope with pain||Playing with younger family members||↑ Motivation|
Research has also shown that there are several constraints for older people who practice sport. The main reasons are poor health, lack of time (family, career, care), social expectations discouraging sports participation, lack of accessible possibilities and lack of self-discipline.
Once you find opportunities to connect with other seniors who share your athletic interests, you will find that the many benefits will overcome these barriers.
Sport can adapt to conditions and disabilities
Many sports are now being changed to allow more middle-aged and older adults to participate safely and reap the rewards of long-term sport participation. However, it is still recommended that older people who are planning to play sport first inform their family doctor or specialist doctor, especially older people with health problems.
Many major sports organizations such as soccer, netball, basketball, swimming, Australian football, cycling, triathlon and track and field have organized club-level activities for the elderly. Many of these formal clubs or informal gatherings will meet once or twice a week.
Find a suitable program in your area
If you live in an apartment complex or retirement village, sports activities may already be available. Otherwise, you may be able to encourage management to develop such sports activities.
A simple web search can also identify contact details for local, state, or national organizations that cater to seniors. A list of the main sports organizations at national level can be found via the Sport Australia directory or you can locate local community sporting events through the Play sports phone book.
You can also visit your local pool or athletic facility, call the local council or county sports and recreation officer, or jump online and search community resource websites to find a local contact.
Do not be afraid. Get a local contact and call them to chat. You will be pleasantly surprised to find that the emphasis is on fun, fitness and friendship rather than competition.
Talk to the exercise professionals
ESSA has a online directory accredited exercise professionals - accredited exercise physiologists, accredited exercise scientists and accredited sport scientists - who can help older adults initiate and adhere to long-term beneficial and safe sport participation by:
1. Work in collaboration with local organizations to develop sports competitions for the elderly. Examples of these could be sport for health programs, in which the program is more sport focused than exercise.
2. Develop short-term training programs that help prepare under-active seniors for safe sport. Such programs could be offered at relevant times in the year preceding the start of the season or event.
It is also important not to be afraid of the risk of injury. Research has shown that older athletes have similar or lower injury rates than younger athletes. Smart training under the direction of a licensed exercise professional can help prevent injury.
To learn more, read the Exercise for Seniors eBook! Download here.
Expert contributors: Professor Peter Reaburn, Assistant Professor and Program Leader at Bond University; and Dr. Justin Keogh, Accredited Sports Scientist and Associate Professor at Bond University
If you’re having dysfonctionnement beginning an exercise plan or following through, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle getting out of the sedentary rut, despite our best intentions.
You already know there are many great reasons to exercise—from improving energy, mood, sleep, and health to reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. And detailed exercise indications and workout orgie are just a click away. But if knowing how and why to exercise was enough, we’d all be in shape. Making exercise a habit takes more—you need the right mindset and a smart approach.
While practical concerns like a busy schedule or poor health can make exercise more challenging, for most of us, the biggest barriers are mental. Maybe it’s a lack of self-confidence that keeps you from taking positive steps, or your détermination quickly flames out, or you get easily discouraged and give up. We’ve all been there at some point.
Whatever your age or sport level—even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life —there are steps you can take to make exercise less intimidating and painful and more fun and instinctive.
Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or puissance yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits of exercise. A little exercise is better than nothing. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health.
Be kind to yourself. Research shows that self-compassion increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed in any given endeavor. So, don’t beat yourself up about your body, your current fitness level, or your supposed lack of willpower. All that will do is demotivate you. Instead, look at your past mistakes and unhealthy choices as opportunities to learn and grow.
Check your expectations. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, and you’re not going to instantly transform your body either. Expecting too much, too soon only leads to frustration. Try not to be discouraged by what you can’t accomplish or how far you have to go to reach your sport goals. Instead of obsessing over results, focus on consistency. While the improvements in mood and energy levels may happen quickly, the physical payoff will come in time.
Many of us feel the same. If sweating in a gym or pounding a treadmill isn’t your idea of a great time, try to find an activity that you do enjoy—such as dancing—or pair physical activity with something more enjoyable. Take a walk at lunchtime through a scenic park, for example, walk laps of an air-conditioned mall while window shopping, walk, run, or bike with a friend, or listen to your favorite music while you move.
Even the busiest of us can find free time in our day for activities that are important. It’s your decision to make exercise a priority. And don’t think you need a full hour for a good workout. Short 5-, 10-, or 15-minute bursts of activity can prove very effective—so, too, can squeezing all your exercise into a couple of sessions over the weekend. If you’re too busy during the week, get up and get moving during the weekend when you have more time.
The key thing to remember about starting an exercise program is that something is always better than nothing. Going for a quick walk is better than sitting on the couch; one minute of activity will help you lose more weight than no activity at all. That said, the current recommendations for most adults is to reach at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. You’ll get there by exercising for 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Can’t find 30 minutes in your busy schedule ? It’s okay to break things up. Two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective.
For most people, aiming for moderate intensity exercise is sufficient to improve your overall health. You should breathe a little heavier than normal, but not be out of breath. Your body should feel warmer as you move, but not overheated or sweating profusely. While everyone is different, don’t assume that training for a marathon is better than training for a 5K or 10K. There’s no need to overdo it.
Health issues ? Get medical clearance first. If you have health concerns such as limited mobility, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor before you start to exercise.
Warm up. Warm up with dynamic stretches—active movements that warm and flex the muscles you’ll be using, such as leg kicks, walking lunges, or arm swings—and by doing a slower, easier version of the upcoming exercise. For example, if you’re going to run, warm up by walking. Or if you’re lifting weights, begin with a few light reps.
Drink plenty of water. Your body performs best when it’s properly hydrated. Failing to drink enough water when you are exerting yourself over a prolonged period of time, especially in hot conditions, can be dangerous.
There’s a reason so many New Year’s resolutions to get in shape crash and burn before February rolls around. And it’s not that you simply don’t have what it takes. Science shows us that there’s a right way to build habits that last. Follow these steps to make exercise one of them.
A goal of exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week may sound good. But how likely are you to follow through ? The more ambitious your goal, the more likely you are to fail, feel bad about it, and give up. It’s better to start with easy exercise goals you know you can achieve. As you meet them, you’ll build self-confidence and momentum. Then you can move on to more challenging goals.
Triggers are one of the secrets to success when it comes to forming an exercise habit. In fact, research shows that the most consistent exercisers rely on them. Triggers are simply reminders—a time of day, place, or cue—that kick off an automatic reaction. They put your routine on autopilot, so there’s nothing to think about or decide on. The alarm clock goes off and you’re out the door for your walk. You leave work for the day and head straight to the gym. You spot your sneakers addict right by the bed and you’re up and course. Find ways to build them into your day to make exercise a no-brainer.
People who exercise regularly tend to do so because of the rewards it brings to their lives, such as more energy, better sleep, and a greater sense of well-being. However, these tend to be long-term rewards. When you’re starting an exercise program, it’s important to give yourself immediate rewards when you successfully complete a workout or reach a new sport goal. Choose something you look forward to, but don’t allow yourself to do until after exercise. It can be something as simple as having a hot bath or a favorite cup of coffee.
If your workout is unpleasant or makes you feel clumsy or inept, you’re unlikely to stick with it. Don’t choose activities like running or lifting weights at the gym just because you think that’s what you should do. Instead, pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste.
Activity-based scène games such as those from Wii and Kinect can be a fun way to start moving. So-called “exergames” that are played standing up and moving around—simulating dancing, skateboarding, soccer, bowling, or sport tennistique, for example—can burn at least as many kcal as walking on a treadmill; some substantially more. Once you build up your confidence, try getting away from the TV screen and playing the real thing outside. Or use a smartphone application to keep your workouts fun and interesting—some immerse you in interactive stories to keep you motivated, such as running from hordes of zombies !