Always on the move, physically fit and mentally active - everyone dreams of being able to enjoy life even in old age. But if you want to stay fit, you have to train your strength and endurance regularly. "Stair climbing gets harder and harder with increasing age, and the shopping bag seems to be heavier." Those who want to take countermeasures should do something about fitness twice a week, "Dr. Jürgen Lütticke. "Sufficient muscle strength and a good physical balance are good protection against falls and serious injuries".
Create good conditions
For physical health, a healthy diet, abstinence from nicotine, alcohol consumption only in moderation, but above all exercise play an important role. Many sports are also suitable for older people, for example, swimming, cycling, hiking, walking, cross-country skiing or gymnastics. For example, to improve coordination and balance, dancing and Tai Chi (Chinese physical therapy with flowing movements designed to improve balance, stamina and concentration) are recommended.
Strength exercises protect against loss of power and falls. Even people who are injured in health can easily improve their physical condition without much effort - for example, by taking regular walks.
Scientific studies, including a study of the geriatric center in Ulm, which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Health, have shown that seniors who performed light balance, strength and endurance exercises twice a week were able to significantly improve their physical performance. In total, several hundred senior citizens took part in the investigations. "The number of crash-related accidents decreased by more than 30 percent, and the ability to walk and the strength were improved by more than 80 percent of the participants," reports Lütticke.
Who wants to train his body, does not necessarily need a gym, many exercises can be performed easily at home. Those who prefer to be physically active in society can join a group. Suitable offers are available, for example, at community colleges, local sports clubs or health insurance companies.
"Before the first training, you should definitely ask your doctor if something is against it," advises Lütticke. Those who do not have serious circulatory or balance disorders should do something for their fitness.
Four exercises to be fit in your old age
To improve muscle strength, training twice a week is ideal. The training should be arranged so that the different exercises strengthen the arms and legs. You should increase the number of repetitions slowly. "It is very important that you do not overcharge yourself, if something hurts you, you should stop immediately, if you feel sore muscles one day after your workout, do not exercise again until it has subsided," said Dr. med. Jürgen Lütticke. In addition to general endurance training such as walking or cycling, the following exercises are recommended for strengthening the strength in senior gymnastics:
Strengthen leg muscles
Stand next to a chair and hold tight to the backrest. With the upper body straight and without kinking at the waist, lift the knee as far as possible towards the chest (in case of an artificial hip joint, lift the thigh at most to the horizontal), slowly lower the leg again and repeat the exercise with the other leg.
execution: Two sets of ten repetitions per leg, always alternating between left and right leg (so count to 20). To strengthen the exercise, weight cuffs can be created above the ankles; for the beginning, one kilo is enough.
Stand behind a chair and hold on to the backrest. One leg stretched out to the side without bending the waist or knees. The toes point forward during the movement. Slowly move the leg back to the starting position and repeat the exercise with the other leg.
execution: Two sets of ten repetitions per leg, alternating between left and right leg (count to 20). To increase the effect, weight cuffs can also be created above the ankles in this exercise.
Strengthen upper arms
Sit upright on the front half of the chair area. Grasp the armrests of the chair so that your hands are right next to your torso. Put your feet forward. If possible, only push your body up with your arms, stretching your elbows as far as possible. Slowly sink back into the chair, trying to slow the movement with your arms. Take a deep breath and repeat the exercise.
execution: Two series with ten repetitions each (with both arms at the same time).
For feet and calf muscles
Stand upright behind a chair and hold tight to the backrest. Press your heels off the ground so that you are standing on tiptoe. Slowly return to the starting position until the feet are firmly on the ground. Then lift both tiptoes so that you are standing on your heels.
execution: two to three series with ten to 20 repetitions both two-legged or ten repetitions one-legged. Tip: Gradually increase up to 20 repetitions. If you find this too easy, try to lift your body weight only on the right or left leg.