Exercise for the elderly

We all know that exercise is good for our physical & mental well-being and no matter what age we are, this fact remains the same.

For most of our older generation exercise was a part of their daily chores and routines growing up. As children, they were a lot more active than the current generation of young people. They walked to school or cycled if they were lucky enough to own a bike. When they got home, they had daily chores which often involved manual tasks. There were always jobs to be done around the house and this kept them fit and active. Their diet consisted of home grown produce and they rarely if ever got any processed foods.

As this generation grew up, there were huge changes in the technology and food industry. More processed foods became available and foods were produced in a way that could extend their “use by date”. People slowly adjusted to this faster food production and the ease of its availability. The increased use of processed food however brought with it a more sedentary lifestyle. Less manual labour meant less exercise, an increase in weight gain and an escalation in health problems in general.

It is a proven fact that exercise does reduce health problems and can build up muscles to strengthen the body which in turn can prevent falls in the elderly. Getting moving can help boost your energy, protect your heart and manage symptoms of illness or pain as well as maintaining your weight. And regular exercise is also good for your mind, mood, and memory.

So, it is an unfortunate fact that these days, instead of exercise being part of our daily routine, we now have to make time for it. Setting aside time to go for a walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator, chose the more active route rather than the easier technological aided route all help us to be healthier. This can often be difficult but we now know it is vital for us to exercise and there are huge benefits to a more active life style as we grow older. In fact, an active lifestyle becomes more important than ever to our health the older we get.

In Beechtree we aim to incorporate exercise into the daily routine of our residents.
Here are some types of exercise

1. Endurance, or aerobic, activities increase your breathing and heart rate. Some examples of these more applicable to those in long term care are brisk walking and dancing.
2. Strength exercises make your muscles stronger
3. Balance exercises help prevent falls.
4. Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and can help your body stay limber

Potential Physical Health Benefits
• Helps you maintain or lose weight
• Reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease.
• Enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance.
Metal Health Benefits
• Can Improve sleep.
• Can boost mood and self-confidence
• Can Increase brain activity

In Beechtree our activity coordinator carries out light flexibility exercise daily with our residents.
Our carers always encourage independence for the residents by assisting them in daily tasks instead of just doing it for them.

Beechtree have a fitness company visit us weekly called
Siel Bleu
Siel Bleu offers group exercise programmes in nursing homes/day-care centres with patient groups, in communities and one to one session in private homes. Their expert Physical Trainers gauge the ability of each participant and tailor classes to meet the group needs. Together this results in programmes which have a real physical, social and psychological impact.

Siel Bleu have been visiting Beechtree for over 4 years now, we have found great success with their regular visits.
One of the hazards associated with getting more dependent is the risk and fear of falling. Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling.
We always try to make our exercise programme fun at Beechtree and Niamh or one of her colleagues from Siel Bleu always brings a smile to all our residents.

We also encourage dancing as this can be one of the most fun ways of exercising, so regular bands and musicians are invited to entertain us.

As always we are open to ideas, so as a family member or friend of Beechtree’s residents please feel free to share ideas as to how we can continue to grow and nurture our exercise programme at Beechtree.


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