Exercise & Nutrition for the Elderly

In addition, everybody should have a healthy diet whether or not they are exercising. We all need to eat more fruits and vegetables and less animal fat, and limit our total fat intake to 30% of total calories. There is nothing different about the ideal diet for a person in an exercise program. One thing that does change, however, is that when people do exercise, research shows that they will eat more to make up for the extra energy they are burning up. This means that with exercise you can add good things like protein, vitamins and minerals to your diet without gaining weight.
Sixty percent of the elderly use supplements, however people should avoid relying heavily on vitamin pills, because nutrition scientists are constantly finding new healthy components in real food that provide benefits like lowering cholesterol and preventing cancer. These components have not been duplicated in pill form. All-purpose multivitamins are also safer than pills that deliver high doses of one vitamin or mineral; they are less likely to deliver too much of one and not enough of another. Some vitamin C pills, for example, contain a toxic amount which is 10 times the recommended dietary allowance. And the body can become dependent on high levels of a vitamin. People on heavy doses of vitamin C pills can develop scurvy when they stop taking the pills, even if they only drop to a normal vitamin C intake.

  • Find a pleasant way to get fiber in the diet. Fiber is another substance lacking in supplements. As the body ages, the gastrointestinal tract changes and people tend to develop more problems with constipation. A high-fiber diet can prevent that, but many elderly people, especially those with dentures, do not want to eat the seed-filled or crunchy food that is typically high in fiber. They instead go for soft, slippery food that is easily chewed, but is often high in fat. Cooked or baked vegetables, fresh fruit and high-fiber breakfast cereals are some denture-friendly ways to get fiber in the diet. Beans and black-eyed peas are also nutritious and inexpensive.
  • Drink lots of fluids, despite the risk of a leak. The elderly have decreased thirst and often do not get enough fluids in their diet as a result. Getting plenty of fluids helps prevent constipation. The fiber nutritionists recommend is more effective in decreasing constipation when fluids are taken generously. Milk, tea, coffee, soda, ice cream and soup all count as fluids. Many elderly people become incontinent and they realize that if they drink less, they will have less problems with going to the bathroom. If they are drier, they are less likely to have a leak or spill, but it's not as healthy.
  • Get more physical, not less. The amount of exercise needed depends on the person, but in general, people need to step up their activity as they get older. Elderly people often do the opposite, because of bad knees or arthritis. Instead of becoming guarded, they need to walk, bicycle, swim, garden and find other ways to stay on the move.

Educational programming for healthcare professionals

MEDIVISION ™ collaborates with recognized leaders in the fields of medical and pharmaceutical sciences to provide educational programming for medical specialists, universities and medical schools. Our DVD catalog contains over 200 titles in 35 separate healthcare fields, including a wide variety of specialist topics essential to healthcare professionals.

Geriatrics programming >