About 78% of Nigerians that are 60 years of age and older do not know they have hypertension, according to a study published in the Pan-African Medical Journal. In addition, Nigerian health systems fail to pay attention to the elderly who in most cases cannot afford to get the health services they need.
To reduce the number of times they have to see a doctor, elderly Nigerians should turn to exercise to help prevent or manage hypertension and other conditions that affect people in their later years. The good news is that you can start a fitness regimen at any age.
Watch what you eat
In your later years, you should not continue consuming beer and suya as you used to when you were in your twenties. Even the amount of salt and sugar you use every day has to reduce because after the age of 50 your metabolism slows down considerably.
Generally, metabolism means all the things your body does to keep you alive. However, what people often look at to determine whether you have low or high metabolism is your basal metabolism rate or BMR. It is the rate at which your body uses energy when you are resting to keep your body’s basic functions working.
To keep the rate of metabolism high you will need to eat foods such as whole grains, red beans, green vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds and more. Such foods help you avoid gaining weight, which helps you avoid developing hypertension or helps manage hypertension.
Exercises for elderly people
People who are 50 years old or older can do most of the exercises that younger people do. The only caveat is that they need to exercise in stages, instead of plunging immediately into high-intensity exercises. What you need to do is start with activities that increase your heart rate but are also low impact.
Activities with a high impact need longer recovery times and also increase your chances of getting injured. Start with moderate exercises and then as you become stronger you can move to more intense exercises. As you do high-intensity exercises you can challenge yourself by increasing the exercise repetitions and the amount of time you set aside for exercise.
At home and at the gym
For example, instead of walking only 2,000 steps a day, you can increase it to 5,000 after a few weeks and then to 10,000 as you get stronger. If you can afford a gym membership in your later years, you can do your walking exercises on elliptical machines or the treadmill.
Fortunately, there are many home exercises that Nigerians that either cannot afford gym memberships or just don’t like gyms can do instead. There are a number of exercise apps that can show you how to do these exercises. Some of the exercises you can do at home include the sideways bends, upper body twist, hand weight exercises, squats and more.
You should not fear doing these exercises if you are hypertensive because even high intensity exercises only increase your heart rate for a short time. Apart from this, reducing the number of hours you spend seated a day can also help you manage hypertension and keep the extra weight away.