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What are the best exercises to age well? Experts respond

To guarantee a healthy aging , one of the essential factors is to maintain physical activity. According to the Ministry of Health, being more active in old age can bring benefits such as increasing energy, willingness, autonomy and independence to carry out daily activities, in addition to contributing to greater socialization.

Furthermore, physical activity can contribute to aging with a better quality of life, with less joint and back pain and a lower risk of sarcopenia, a condition characterized by the loss of muscle mass and strength.

In general, the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends that elderly people carry out at least 150 to 300 minutes per week of aerobic physical activity of moderate intensity; or, at least, 75 to 150 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity .

However, Marco Túlio, president of the Brazilian Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology, emphasizes that, to enjoy these benefits, it is interesting to practice physical activity throughout life It is continue this practice into old age .

“Physical activity has several important benefits. One of them is strengthening bone health, especially when practiced throughout life”, says Túlio. “As we age, we experience a decline in bone density. By practicing physical exercise, it is possible to reduce the rate of this loss of bone mass, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, for example. This also goes for sarcopenia,” he adds.

Furthermore, physical activity throughout life and in old age can also help prevent cognitive decline and the development of cardiovascular diseases.

“Practical exercise is very important for the brain as it offers a protective effect against dementia. Furthermore, there is a strong relationship between physical activity and cardiovascular health, so the sooner a person starts doing physical activity, the lower the risk of heart attack, angina, stroke and other cardiovascular complications”, adds the specialist.

What is the best exercise for healthy aging? Discover good options

According to Marco Túlio, among the best physical exercises for aging healthily are aerobic (such as walking or running), the bodybuilding and the flexibility exercises . “Resistance exercises, such as weight training, are beneficial for strengthening muscles, while flexibility exercises prevent muscle shortening. As for the brain, a mix of all these activities is important,” she says.

Below, understand in more detail the benefits of these types of activities and how to practice them carefully in old age.

Bodybuilding

Physiotherapist Luciana Mastandrea, professor and master at the Biodelta Institute, specialized in the application of resistance training, explains that, in bodybuilding, it is possible to control training overloads.

“This is a controlled and therapeutic exercise that can even be used to rehabilitate and treat illnesses. In it, we control overloads, comfortable positions, the speed of movements and the weights used, in addition to controlling the range of movement so as not to harm the joints”, he states.

Therefore, it is essential to practice weight training, and any other physical activity, with the monitoring and guidance of a specialized physical education professional.

Aerobic

Among the important aerobic exercise options for healthy aging, one of the most accessible and safe alternatives is walking, according to Hélena Dalla Bernardina, a physical education professional specializing in resistance training.

“Walking can be done indoors, on a treadmill, for example, or outdoors. The important thing is that, if the person is just starting out, they start slowly, and notice if this activity does not generate or increase pain in the spine, knees and ankles”, advises the specialist. Gradually, you can gradually increase your walking speed.

Water aerobics is also a popular, safe and low-impact aerobics option for seniors. “It can improve motor coordination, cardiorespiratory fitness and, as it is done in water, it can be a pleasurable activity for many people”, says Sandra Nunes de Jesus, physical education professional.

However, the specialist makes one reservation: “The only negative point of water aerobics is that it does not improve muscle mass or bone mass, two important components for the aging process”, says de Jesus. Therefore, it is essential to associate the activity with resistance exercise, such as weight training.

Yoga and pilates

Activities that work on the body's mobility and flexibility, such as yoga and pilates, can also be practiced by the elderly. However, before starting one of them, it is It is important to respect individual limitations as Bernardina points out.

“Elderly people who have pain in their shoulders, spine or knees, these exercises need to be adapted for these conditions”, says the specialist. “When this is respected, yoga can improve flexibility through stretching, reduce stress and increase concentration. Pilates offers benefits such as general strengthening of the body, as well as increasing stretching and improving body posture,” she says.

Important precautions when practicing physical exercise

In order to achieve the benefits offered by physical activity in healthy aging, it is necessary to keep in mind some important precautions. The first of them is perform the exercises with supervision , guidance and monitoring from qualified professionals. For sedentary people, the beginning of the activity should be of light intensity, with gradual and progressive evolution.

“It is also essential to know your limitations and receive a medical evaluation with your diagnoses. This makes all the difference when we monitor ourselves during the exercises”, advises de Jesus. “Activities must be adapted according to individual comfort, respecting the limitations that diseases resulting from aging may cause,” he adds.

Marco Túlio also emphasizes the importance of medical evaluation before starting physical activity , especially among people who have never performed physical activity before. “If the patient has a low cardiovascular risk and has no history of cardiovascular disease, he or she can begin performing physical activity without any major concerns,” he says.

Those who are at risk must undergo a detailed assessment to find out which type of exercise may be best suited for them. “It is important to remember that physical activity is also important for heart disease patients. But these patients must be rehabilitated to then begin physical activity, with greater care and a special exercise schedule”, adds the specialist.

Source: CNN Brasil

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