Exercise and Older Adults

Exercise is even more important for older adults.​Throughout life, most people have been taught that maintaining a well-balanced diet and staying physically active are the two key ingredients to making the most of their overall well-being. For seniors, it's even more important to stay physically active as it can do number of things for an older person’s health, which includes reversing signs and symptoms of aging.

As a person ages, the changes in his or her body may make it hard to get up and get exercising. A person may feel discouraged by his or her health or worried about falling, or they may think it's too late to start making time for fitness. 

The truth is that it's never too late. All of these reasons to stay inactive are actually even better reasons to get up and get going.

Don't let a person’s age discourage him or her - exercise is meant for everyone and it can enhance a person’s life immensely as an older adult. Here are some of the many benefits of staying physically active as a person ages.

Exercise can help strengthen bones

Unfortunately, the older a person becomes, the higher he or she is at risk for osteoporosis, according to the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent osteoporosis, and exercise is one of them. Some simple exercises that can help a person’s bones grow stronger include:
  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Jogging
  • Dancing
  • Playing sports
  • Climbing Stairs
  • Lifting weights.

Exercise can help you maintain independence

According to NIHSeniorHealth, staying physically active as a senior can often help a person stay strong enough to keep doing things on his or her own. Fitting exercise into an everyday routine can help maintain independence and push back the need for assistance when walking, performing everyday activities and sticking to hobbies.

Exercise reduces the risk of developing serious health issues

Exercise has an impact on reducing the chance of developing illness and chronic disease as a person ages. It can boost the immune system, improve heart health, lower blood pressure and promote better digestive functioning. Not only can staying physically active improve a person’s circulatory system, but it can also lower that person’s risk of developing chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. All in all, making time for healthy movements or fitness can make a huge impact on life expectancy.

Exercise puts feelings of anxiety and depression at bay

If feelings of sadness are occurring more often, an older person may be developing depression. Exercise is a huge stress reliever that produces endorphins throughout the body that can help cease feelings of sadness, loneliness, depression and anxiety. Not only can staying as physical as possible help put these feelings at bay, but it can also boost self-esteem and confidence.

Exercise has mental benefits

Exercising the mind with crossword puzzles and word searches isn't the only way to improve brain flow. Physical exercise provides mental benefits because it teaches a person how to multitask and it can prevent memory loss, dementia and cognitive decline, according to experts.

Keep moving

It's never too late to start exercising. Of course if there are any questions about the impact of exercise on a person’s health, it’s always best to consult a physician.  In many instances modifications can be made so an older adult can continue healthy movements and realize a number of important benefits.    
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