Seniors and Exercise

Reasons behind Sleep problems among Seniors

A person’s sleeping pattern may change with age; the amount of sleep and quality of sleep are determined by a person’s lifestyle, health condition and overall well-being. Naturally, seniors tend to face greater health challenges as compared to younger adults.

• A senior’s current illness or health condition may affect his or her sleep pattern. For example, pain or symptoms caused by age-related illnesses such as osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and asthma may disrupt a good night’s sleep.

• Lack of exercise or regular physical activities is another major reason behind seniors’ complaints about their sleep.

• Irregular sleeping pattern caused by frequent napping during the day may invoke sleeping difficulty at night.

• Consumption of alcohol before bedtime and smoking affect the quality of sleep among seniors.

• Medication intake among seniors is also more intense than younger patients. The side effects of a combination of drugs may result in wakefulness or frequent waking during the night.

• Seniors also generally experience a greater level of anxiety, depression and psychological stress that may increase their mental alertness at night, causing their sleep to suffer.

• Many seniors suffer from sleep-related disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring or restless leg syndrome, which are age-related conditions that can disrupt and interfere with good quality sleep.

Senior Care for the Physically Active

When choosing a home for seniors who are physically active and love regular exercise, one should consider the following criteria:

• Recreation facilities available. Be it a golf course, fitness center, pool or park, one should ensure the nursing home, retirement community or assisted living facility provides an accessible and convenient place for seniors to perform their favorite exercise on a regular basis.

• Recreation clubs or groups. Many facilities offer group classes on a wide range of exercise programs such as yoga, dancing or aerobics. These classes also encourage seniors to mingle and build friendships with other seniors.

• Fitness Center. Light weight training such as working with dumbbells and weight machines is a very essential part of seniors’ exercise program. Strength training helps them build stronger muscles and joints.

• Outdoor recreation facilities. For seniors who love outdoor exercise such as walking or running in the park, biking and golf may consider a retirement community or assisted living facility that provides such facilities. At least three sessions of continuous light cardio activity up to 30 minutes each session is recommended by doctors to help elderly patients improve their overall well-being and stamina.