In retirement, when all professional activity comes to an end, people want to remain active and energetic. This means finding things to do that work the body. Practising regular physical activity is essential as one ages, as it prevents various diseases to which seniors are exposed.
Almost 50% of people over 60 have already started. The World Health Organisation recommends that people over 50 should do 150 minutes of endurance activity per week (2. 5 hours of sport per week). Health and well-being are the main concerns of everyone, so practising sport safely and in a friendly atmosphere is fundamental.
The benefits of sport for seniors
A person's muscle mass and strength decreases by 40-50% from the age of 50. Also, at this age, the bones become weaker, you get out of breath more quickly and the risk of falling increases. Practising sport helps to combat these problems. Indeed, by exercising, older people are more flexible and have stronger muscles and joints. It also reduces the risk of bone fragility or osteoporosis.
Older people who practise sport have more stamina, because their heart, lungs and blood circulation function better. It has been proven that practising sport increases life expectancy.
Tips for safe sport
It is important to ensure that the sport you practice is perfectly suited to your physical condition and abilities in order to avoid injury. Fractures in the elderly are common, but difficult to treat. It is therefore essential to avoid them.
Identify your physical profile
Before engaging in any physical activity, a sports assessment is necessary. Among seniors, there are those who are in excellent physical condition. Among them are former top athletes who can keep up with the same pace and exercises as young adults, or even more. They have a wide choice of activities, as they can do almost anything. For example, weight training exercise sare made for them. Then there are those who are in good physical condition. They have always practised a moderate physical activity and can do the classic sports exercises. Several exercises are possible: swimming, cycling, hiking, ballroom dancing, etc. Finally, there are those who are new to the world of sport. For them, professional advice and follow-up are necessary so that they can exercise gradually, without risk of injury.
Assessing your health status
It is clear that a medical examination should be carried out before any intense effort. If a senior suffers from balance problems, chronic or acute pathologies, it is essential to consult a health professional who will be able to assess the most suitable activities. This is also the case for people who are taking medication. They must be regularly monitored to avoid any accidents.
Respect the instructions of professionals
The instructions given by the professionals, in terms of warm-up, resting time, etc. are more important here than ever. Seniors are easily injured, but are difficult to treat. Not following the advice can cause serious accidents.
Do not train when it is too hot or too cold. It is recommended to warm up 10 to 20 minutes before an intense effort, especially in low temperatures. You should then increase the temperature by running slowly, bending, etc. Also, don't forget to hydrate before and after the effort.
Wearing clothes that make you feel comfortable and that are suitable for exercise is also important. When the workout is over, a cool down will be very beneficial. The recommendations for frequency and duration of training should also be followed carefully.
Have fun doing sports
Physical activities should not be seen as a chore to be done away with in order to stay healthy. They should be practised in a friendly and safe environment in a cheerful and good-humoured atmosphere, and favouring socialisation. Choose sports that allow communication between several people sharing the same experience.
In order not to become too monotonous and boring, it is important to progress in the sport practiced. So you have to set goals to see that progress. It is important to listen to the body, i. e. to do an activity that is enjoyable and accessible to the physical abilities.
The intensity of the exercises must correspond to the individual potential, in order to maintain strength and even improve. For a senior citizen, for example, simple walking exercises will not be enough. For a former sedentary person, care should be taken not to perform too violent movements.