Exercise is Important for Healthy Aging
Taking care of your health today can pay off dividends later in life, as research has revealed multiple ways to maximize the chances of maintaining optimal physical and mental well-being throughout aging. While genetics play an important role in healthy aging that is outside our control, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, scheduling regular check ups with doctors ,and establishing good mental health are easy steps we all can take for ourselves or loved ones which could potentially improve overall quality of life.
Understanding what resources you may have access to such as those offered by National Institute on Aging will give you more insight on actions taken towards promoting healthier lifestyles during each stage between young adulthood into retirement years!
As we age, our bodies go through many natural degenerative changes. This is why aging and exercise become so important. With exercise we can counter these changes. Exercise helps to stimulate and maintain your present function level. It helps us maintain our level of mobility. It improves your overall health.
While exercise alone will not prevent aging, it can help us stay active and healthy for longer. Regular exercise has been linked to improved mental health, better sleep patterns, and a lowered risk of depression.
Aging and Exercise and Brain Health
It is never too late to start exercising! Begin slowly with low-impact activities such as walking or swimming. Gradually increase the intensity to engage in the same sports with the same vigor as when we were younger. There are there are many ways to keep fit. The bottom line is that you are never too old to exercise.
As you age, your muscles, bones, and joints go through a number of changes. These changes lead to decreased mobility and functionality without a proper exercise regimen.
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These changes include:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Decrease in muscle size
- Decrease in water content around muscle tendon means increased stiffness
- Loss in the ability of heart muscle to propel blood quickly through the body
- Decrease in metabolism
- Decrease in mineral content of bone means an increase in fragility
- Increase risk of fracture
- Degeneration of cartilage leads to arthritis
- Decrease elasticity of ligaments and connective tissue means reduced flexibility
- Inflammation of our joints occurs
- Decreased elasticity and flexibility means loss in our range of motion
Regular exercise has shown to help prevent many medical conditions including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
Cardiovascular and strength training can also help seniors improve their balance. It also helps become more flexible. This prevents common slips and falls. It also helps speed up the recovery period from such injuries.
More on healthy aging
What are the benefits of exercise?
- Keep and improve strength to maintain independence
- Exercise is good for our joints, helping to keep them lubricated. When we’re active our bodies produce substances that maintain smooth moving joints.
- Exercise helps with weight control. Carrying extra pounds can stress joints and can make arthritis worse.
- Stronger muscles support and protect joints. It also helps to absorb much of the impact during physical activity.
- Studies have shown regular exercise can help reduce muscle fatigue and joint stiffness.
- For those in chronic pain, exercise can take your mind off your pain. Studies have shown patients took less pain medication after completing a walking program.
- Exercise is good for the mind and body. Studies indicate that exercise reduce anxiety and depression. It can protect against many of the major inactivity-related diseases.
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An exercise program for a senior should include activities that:
- Improve strength
- And aerobic fitness.
- As we age we are at risk of having the symptoms of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. New research shows that a moderate exercise program can decrease risk factors.
Physical activity can:
- Improve your strength
- Help keep your brain sharp
- Improved quality of sleep
- Improved posture
- Increase in self esteem
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There four types of exercise are important for staying healthy and independent:
Get at least 30 minutes of activity that makes you breathe hard on most days. If you can talk without any trouble, you are not working hard enough. If you can’t talk at all, you’re working too hard.
When you have strong muscles…. you can get up from a chair by yourself, lift your grandchildren and help keep yourself from falling.
A good sense of balance can help prevent falls. Try standing on one foot, then the other. Get up from a chair without using your hands or arms.
Stretching will make it easier to reach down to tie your shoes or look over your shoulder when you drive.
The frequency, intensity and length of the exercise session are key factors.
The health and physical condition of each individual is different. So each of these are greatly dependent on the health of the individual. Consistency is the key to a successful exercise program.
No matter how comprehensive a program is, if it is not performed on a regular basis ,the results are will not be maintained.
A simple ten-minute aerobics program practiced four times a week is going to be more effective. A longer routine performed on an inconsistent basis is not going to see results you want to achieve.
Aging and Exercise
A healthy and safe exercise program as we age brings many benefits. It helps us to live longer, healthier, happier and independent lives.
There are a variety of ways to enjoy physical activity. If done the right way, you’ll be able to experience the benefits for years to come.
You can even turn your own need for exercise into an extra income. Producing ideas by selling your exercise time. Many people today love their dogs but have little time to walk them for exercise. Here is your opportunity to earn dog-walking income. And while doing something important for your own health.
Have a story about how you stay fit as you age? Please share here? Help others realize that they are not alone. Submit Your Caregiver Story
The Unexpected Benefits of Exercise for Seniors