Exercise Programs for Seniors – A new approach – EXERGAMES

Gone Fishing

INTRODUCTION

As older persons we want to do more. Our years of working hard to raise a family are now behind us. Now is our time to enjoy our golden years and pursue our postponed dreams. We have the time. However, we must also have the energy to succeed in this new season of our lives. In this article we will examine how to improve our health and energy through different forms of physical exercise programs for seniors. Have you heard of Exergames. Get ready to do more !

WHAT THE SCIENTISTS TELL US

Scientific papers on the health of seniors tell us that seniors commonly lack physical fitness and often suffer from mobility problems.( No big news there). Furthermore, seniors often lack motivation for physical activities and may experience a decline in cognitive skills. [1] In addition, significant life events, such as loss of a spouse, retirement, loss of social contacts, can lead to psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety [2].

The scientists do not paint a pretty picture of our condition as older persons. However, scientists also tell us how to improve our health. Physical activity is key, it can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve brain plasticity and increase feelings of well-being. Different studies examine various forms of physical exercise for seniors such as :

 

– Flexibility exercises ( stretching, tai-chi )

– Progressive resistance training. [3]

– Core exercises

– Aerobic exercises ( walking, jogging, swimming )

– Balance exercises

Regular exercise programs are recommended. The choice of exercise is really based on personal preference, and any doctor imposed restrictions. Furthermore, ongoing, moderate-intensity physical exercise should be considered as a prescription for lowering cognitive risks and slowing cognitive decline across all ages.[4]

A NEW APPROACH TO EXERCISING – EXERGAMES –

We know that we should exercise more. But the key is to get motivated. To achieve this motivation recently video games have been developed in which the players have to perform physical exercises to control the game. This category of games is called Exergames [5]. These games utilize remote controls and motion sensors. Although these games are for all ages, some are specifically designed for the elderly. The most popular games in this category are the Nintendo Wii games such as the Wii Fit Balance Board and the Wii Sports Games with a hand held controller. Another popular game is the Touchtown’s Dancetown Fitness System using a dance mat.

The most advanced games include persuasion technology, designed to encourage its use. Some games also provide social interaction between players as an added benefit. This is a developing field that promises further benefits to the elderly population.

CONCLUSION

We all need to maximize our health and energy through regular exercise. Some of us may benefit from trying out some Exergames now coming to the market. Other options are DVD videos and online exercise programs for seniors. I personally use the stretching exercises shown in a DVD set called “Aging Backwards” that was offered on PBS. You may find more details on this program at www.essentrics.com/classicalstretch.html . There are many exercise programs offered online. Choose one that meets your needs, but do not delay. Physical exercise is very important for all ages, but especially for older persons like us who want to remain active and be ready for more.You can see the latest classical stretch exercises here.

Carlos

airexpo@aol.com

Note: After exercising I enjoy relaxing on my  massage chair ( Feels soo good ! )


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References

[1]. “A game like interface for training seniors’ dynamic balance and coordination”. A.S.Billis et al. ,IFMBE Proceedings,2010,Volume 29, Part 4, 691-694

[2]. “Effects of group exercise on cognitive functioning and mood of older women”. Philippa Williams and Stephen R.Lord,Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Sydney. (Aust NZJ Public Health 1997;21:45-52)

[3]. “A comparison of community-based resistance exercise and flexibility exercise for seniors”. Barrett C and Smerdely P (2002) (Australian Journal of Physiotherapy 48: 215-219 )

[4]. “Physical Exercise as a Preventive or Disease-Modifying Treatment of Dementia and Brain Aging”. J. Eric Ahlskog et al. Mayo Clinic Proc. 2011;876(9): 876-884 . www.mayoclinicproceedings.com

[5]. “Exergames for elderly”. Ellen Brox et al. Northern Research Institute, Tromso,Norway. Juan Emilio Gonzalez Hernandez, University of Seville, Spain.

8 thoughts on “Exercise Programs for Seniors – A new approach – EXERGAMES

  1. Nice one here. We find a lot of old people unable to walk not to talk of run or jug because they didn’t pay attention to fitness during their days. As they get older, they should begin involving themselves in some exercises in order to make their joints feel better and stronger so as to function well. 

    1. Even if you were fit in early years, old age take its toll. It is nature. But we can maximize our energy by exercising no matter our age.A major benefit is the mental aspect.Exercise, especially if you join groups of similar interests, will improve the brain’s plasticity and slow cognitive decay.Thank you for your comment.

  2. This is very helpful for my parents. They badly need exercise now that they are on their senior years. I’m just not sure how well they would do on video games lol, but certainly worth trying. That would be fun lol. Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to send this article to them.

    1. Your parents are very lucky to have a caring daughter.I can tell you, as a senior myself, that motivation is the key.You can encourage them by showing by example how video games can be fun.It was not easy for me to start using all the new technology. But I am getting there!Thanks for your comment.

  3. This is very important and informative for our senior citizen living and staying healthy life is only remedy for living a little bit longer plus more relaxed and stressed Free  .for me I think walking can be the best way for our senior to keep fit  for while they are walking they can be able to move outdoors where they can be able to meet with fellow seniors who they can  chit chat  with and remove alot stressful thought in them

    1. What you say is true.Walking is very helpful physically and mentally. But seniors can do more ! I can tell you ,as a senior myself, that if we improve our energy through exercise we can do much more than just chat and compare our ilnesses.We can reach out and follow our dreams.Those goals that we had in the past can now be pursued.We have the time.Let’s use it wisely. Life is beautiful at any age.

  4. I completely agree that it is vitally important for everyone to exercise in some way as they get older.

    Walking is always good, and so is swimming, and both of those things are easily accessible, particularly walking of course!

    As for Exergames, I really love my WiFit, which I have had for a good few years now. It is always fun to do, and there are so many different activities on it. My current favourite is the Skateboard one, where you turn the balance board long ways and “propel” it along just like a skateboard!! The children love the WiFit too, and it gets them away from sitting in front of a screen!

    There is no doubt that keeping fit in body and mind is the key to a longer active life.

    Many thanks for your post.

    Chrissie 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment. It is great to hear your approval of the WiFit system. As an older senior, 77 years young, I was slow to adopt and be comfortable with the new technology. But life is beautiful at any age. I am ready for more !

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