Physical Exercise Improves The Functional And Cognitive Health Of The Elderly

In winter, when the practice of outdoor exercise is more complicated, it is of great importance that older people continue to exercise in enclosed spaces, such as the gym or day centers, including in their daily routine the practice of exercise. And not only because it is essential to stay active and enjoy good physical and mental health, but also because it is essential to prevent key aspects such as the risk of falls.

Adopting these habits in a phased manner, gradually increasing the intensity, will make it easier for older people to become familiar with the practice of exercise and routine. An average of 30 minutes a day dedicated to exercise, for example, improves functional health, prevents early dependence and presents benefits at a cognitive level. In addition, as David Curto, responsible for Healthcare Management of Sanitas Mayor “points out, there are no two older equals, we must always adapt the exercise to the tastes and needs of each person, since the sport is always beneficial and is carried out with the intensity appropriate to each person ”.

An average of 30 minutes a day dedicated to exercise improves functional health, prevents early dependence and benefits cognitively


In this sense, since Sanitas Mayores recommend four types of exercises to introduce into the routine and achieve the goal of staying fit:

Aerobic or resistance exercises

These are regular intensity exercises that are maintained over time. The ideal thing is to perform them daily, with a duration ranging from 20 to 50 minutes. Some examples of aerobic activities recommended for the elderly are walking, swimming or cycling.

These can be done outdoors or at home, using a treadmill or an exercise bike. The benefits of this type of exercise are numerous, from the improvement of cardiovascular function or the decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, to the decrease in cholesterol and blood glucose levels. In addition, they help improve respiratory capacity and can delay or prevent the onset of heart disease or diabetes.

Anaerobic or strength exercises

Anaerobic exercises reinforce and strengthen the muscles, also favoring the strengthening of the bones. Thanks to this type of activity, metabolism is improved and it helps maintain weight, regulating, among other things, the level of cholesterol.

In addition, through these activities, the risk of osteoporosis is limited and the risk of falling is minimized. Some of the recommended strength exercises are weight lifting or pulley machines, always with moderate intensity and in series that do not exceed ten repetitions. It should be done with a frequency of between two and three days per week, leaving free days between sessions, and dividing the routine into upper and lower train exercises.

Balance exercises

An improvement in balance is closely related to the decrease in the risk of falls and agility. These exercises, easy to practice at home, can be done between two and three times a week, with stretches of between 15 and 20 seconds, always under the supervision of a person who can help in case of falls or possible injuries.

Maintaining balance on one leg, flexing muscles of the lower body and stretching and contracting the arms are very useful activities. In addition to basic exercise routines, taichi or yoga are also widely recommended to enhance balance in older people, as well as low-intensity underwater exercises that help stretch the muscles without feeling pain.

Flexibility exercises

Over the years, the body decreases its flexibility if it is not exercised properly. Muscles lose elasticity and this affects mobility. To favor flexibility among the elderly, stretching or exercises such as getting up and sitting in a chair without using the arms, walking on tiptoe or moderately flexing the major muscle groups and joints, are the most indicated. Stretching muscles can also help keep the body relaxed and help preserve autonomy.