If you are a senior golfer, or you know a senior who loves the game, here’s some encouragement to motivate you to get out there and play when those aches and pains kick in.
Guest author: Chuck Horn, Ph.D., Co-founder, Active Seniors in Transition
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Golf Fitness: Great Exercise No Matter Your Age
Let’s start with a definition of physical activity. It is any activity that raises blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate or strains muscles slightly. With that in mind, let’s look at what we know.
We are all aware that physically active people are healthier, have fewer medical problems, live longer, and feel better. Surprisingly, many studies have found that physical activity is superior to “brain games” in helping people stay mentally sharp.
We also know that bone density improves with physical activity, especially with low doses of calcium for women and seniors. This is very important, as falling is less damaging the stronger your bones are.
If you’ve ever been injured, you know how fast you can get out of shape, and the older you are, the longer it takes to get it back. When I was 27, I was in a long leg cast for 6 months. The muscle atrophy was very fast and amazingly destructive — my leg felt and looked like a pencil. Use it or lose it is SO true, particularly as we age!
Simple observation will tell you that there is a wide range of fitness in aging seniors – from super fit to disabled. So, how much physical activity does it take to gain or maintain physical condition?
That of course varies for each individual but here are some guidelines.
- The more the better
- The more often the better
- The longer the better
- Even for parents in their 80’s, 4 times a week for 30 minutes is a minimum
- However do not strain and do not overdo! Serious activity injuries take a long time to recover. “No pain, no gain” is great for professional weight lifters, but not seniors! “Listen to your body” is the famous warning of exercise experts – any change, twinge, or unusual ache suggests rest.
What’s key here is consistency — strenuous exercise only once a week is all but useless. Something, even mild, 5 days a week is better. For endurance, however, one long walk is better than two short ones for the same total time. (Publishers note: Walk the golf course if you can, at least the first nine holes, then pick up a cart at the turn.)
Remember, exercise is a must, or you will be hobbled by rust!
To read other articles by Chuck Horn, visit him at www.activeseniorsintransition.com