The best you can do for your health as an older adult is to include exercise in your daily routine. Making physical activity a regular habit pays off later for many reasons.
For one, exercise contributes to the overall quality of life. It prevents common diseases, produces “feel good” hormones, and reduces risks of falls by 21%.
Additionally, following a prescribed exercise program balances exercise doses, including the frequency and duration of physical activity.
To live the healthiest life, reach the nearest medical facilityfor senior care and social programs. Health clinics can tailor an exercise program according to your needs. Moreover, when you visit a reliable primary care office, you can learn about your Medicare options and benefits.
Working with a healthcare professional helps plan the health journey safely and efficiently. If impaired or constrained by chronic conditions, consult the nearest doctor for input into structuring a physical fitness plan.
With the countless benefits of physical activity to aging, here are some reasons why they are essential.
5 Reasons Why Exercise Is Essential for Older Adults
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more exercise in old age increases health benefits. This not only increases life expectancy but ensures living fully.
Even more so, exercise is essential to health primarily for the following reasons.
1. Protects Against Chronic Illnesses
Aging increases the potential development of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Studies show that the health benefits associated with physical activities are significantly high. Besides averting or delaying these common diseases, it also improves immunity for seniors. Health benefits of exercise include:
- Enhanced bone strength
- Healthier heart
- More energy
Moreover, it helps the body fight infection faster and heal wounds or injuries by 25%.
Prevention is better than cure, even in old age. It’s never too late to either start or continue a health and wellness plan.
Light physical activities or movements like walking or hiking can go a long way!
1. Enhances Cognitive Function
Like most things in life, it’s natural for things to deteriorate with time. When a person ages, so do his body and brain health.
Regular exercise helps improve brain health more than you know. It can help increase brain structure as daily activities keep brain cells and neurons alive. Consequently, it leads to better spatial memory and cognitive function.
As documented by numerous studies, fine motor skills positively impact brain activity. In fact, researches prove that physical activities like walking reduce the occurrence of dementia by 35%.
The greater the frequency of physical activity, the more health benefits are in sight!
1. Relieves Depression and Improves Mood
It has been scientifically proven that exercise provides psychological benefits to older adults, making them feel relieved and happy.
This is because being physically active improves the production of endorphins, leaving you with “post-workout bliss.” Moreover, it helps fight off symptoms of depression and improve overall mental health.
For older people struggling with disrupted sleeping patterns, exercise remedies this as well. It was even evidenced that physical activity links to better sleep and less insomniac tendencies.
2. Maintains Balance and Coordination
Aging is a cycle of life we simply cannot avoid. The human body undergoes a series of natural alterations when it grows old.
For instance, muscle mass starts to decrease when you reach your forties. Your body becomes less lean and increases body fat. This often leads to low physical performance among older adults.
Having balance and coordination is not entirely apart from having good muscle strength. Muscle contributes significantly to flexibility and balance, thus reducing the risk of falls.
Otherwise, recovery from falls becomes manageable when accidents are simply impossible to avoid.
3. Improves Social Well-Being
Young or old, the human body parts and systems are interconnected. All else follows when one’s physical and emotional aspects are well cared for.
Having an improved social circle and well-being is not an exception. Adult life requires a sense of belongingness and purpose. When a person is socially-inclined, he or she shows the following:
- Confidence and self-acceptance
- Empathetic values
- Leadership initiatives
- Strong social ties
While grumpiness has been a common observation in old age, it’s nothing a balanced hormone cannot fix.
Physical activity does not have to be a chore or constrained within your comfort zone. It can come in routine or leisure like cooking or gardening
You can also widen your social circle and join community events while being healthy and socially involved.
Exercise for Older Adults
An exercise routine for seniors is best when consulted with healthcare clinics, but here are simple ways to be physically active.
The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests aerobic and strength exercises for balance. Meanwhile, endurance or cardio activities such as the following are suitable for breathing and heart health:
- Hiking or climbing hills
Good stretching and yoga would be great physical activities for muscle, joint, and limber flexibility.
Older people with morbidities could use a professional recommendation or program from a primary care office. Understand that physical activity levels and their benefits vary and depend on many factors.
For instance, experts suggest that improved cardiorespiratory fitness can be attained by 6+ months of physical activities. Furthermore, older people with chronic illnesses shall be as active as their condition allows.
As easy as it sounds, many elders can no longer sustain this kind of activity without assistance. You can check “clinics around me” or go to the nearest medical facility should you require one.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the challenges older adults face when exercising?
Common barriers that older people face and overcome when exercising include aches, pain, discomfort, balance issues, additional expenses, and memory decline.
How frequently should older people exercise?
Little physical activity is better than none, but moderate to intense movement reaps more health benefits. Intensity varies from muscle strength and balance activities.
Is it too late to start a fitness journey for older adults?
It’s never too late to start being physically active. Simple day-to-day exercise or movement helps muscle and bone health, boosts energy, and reduces the risk of chronic illnesses.
As you age, the more you realize that health is always wealth. There’s a time when you enjoy life with no limits and a time you notice some things become physically impossible.
There’s no wrong or right time to start your fitness journey when done right. If possible, always seek professional approval, especially in distinct health cases.
Nonetheless, appropriate and proper exercise hurts no one. Simply walking your dog or taking the stairs instead of the elevator increases your physical activity significantly.
The health benefits of exercise outweigh the cons. With consistency and moderation, you can achieve an improved quality of life and longer life expectancy as you age.