Physical exercise is very important for older adults. As people age several changes taking places in their bodies and minds make it essential they exercise on a regular basis. According to the CDC, physical activity can extend the average person’s life
expectancy. Many of the conditions people typically develop as they get older can be delayed if they remain active. It doesn’t have to be intense pro level training. Some simple moderate types of activity like walking, dancing, gardening and Tai Chi will do.
The key is to move the body regularly for a few minutes. It can protect your health.
Ways Exercise Can Help Older Adults
As people age, their muscles shorten and their bones can begin to become brittle if they don’t exercise regularly. Without regular exercise their coordination along with their balance can also suffer. Exercise helps improve the flexibility of the bodies of older adults. Staying active helps stretch and lengthen muscle tissue and prevent it from wasting and shortening. When older adults make exercise a part of their daily routine, it can enhance their joints’ range of motion, increase bone density and help improve their mobility while reducing their risk of arthritis and osteoporosis.
A Stronger Heart
Regular exercise helps to improve the heart health of older adults. Exercise helps to ward of many of the common cardiac problems older people experience by keeping their heart muscle in shape. Light intensity exercise raises the heart rate, increases the respiratory intake and improves overall cardiovascular health of the elderly. It helps to make their heart stronger and improves their ability to fight off colds and flu. An older adult who does regular moderate exercise reduces their risk of developing blocked arteries because exercise can help to lower blood cholesterol and improve heart health.
Improved Mental Health
Exercise causes the body to release endorphins. This not only enhances a person’s mood, it can also help older adults better stave off aging’s psychological effects and feel more capable of handling complex, challenging mental activity. Exercise helps enhance cognitive function and improve memory and mental focus. Plus, it relieves stress and anxiety and makes people feel happier and more satisfied. Older adults who exercise regularly say it makes them feel empowered, enhances their mental clarity, makes their mental acuity sharper and handling mental tasks easier. They have more control of their faculties and can quickly shift their focus from one activity to another.
Enhances Emotional Health
Many studies have shown exercise supports enhanced emotional health. It helps reduce the incidences of feeling depressed, improves people’s mood and their overall emotional well-being. Exercise increases the drive and energy level of older adults, empowers them and releases chemicals that boost their spirits and makes them feel more relaxed and contented. Simple low impact activities like stretching, deep breathing exercises and yoga can help the emotional health of the elder to improve dramatically. Whether it’s just time spent playing with their grandkids or puttering in the garden, being active can help them to become more emotionally balanced.
A number of studies have shown when older adults do regular physical activity it helps to prevent diabetes, heart disease and many other common diseases. Exercise improves immune function. This is particularly important as people age as their immune system often becomes compromised. Research shows that when older adults regularly engage in even light to moderate exercise, like walking, dancing, gardening and yoga, it can act as a powerful disease prevention tool. For older adults, exercise helps to stimulate the immune system and helps with disease management. Exercise helps the immune system to reduce their susceptibility to many common diseases.
Decreased Risk Of Falls
As people age, they tend to be at a higher risk for falls. This can lead to many major problems, because older people tend to get injured and break bones easier. And their injuries take longer to heal. Exercise can improve their strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. This can significantly reduce their risk for falling and injuring themselves. By simply spending a few minutes several times a week doing light exercise, older people can help their equilibrium to improve and they are less likely to lose their balance and fall. This can play a major role in improving the quality of their lives and protecting their health.
Better Social Engagement
Whether an older person takes a fitness class, joins a walking group or participates in a gardening club, it can make exercise become a social event. For older people, being able to create and maintain strong social ties can be very important. When an older person finds themselves struggling with social isolation, it can make them feel lonely and depressed. Regular physical activity with a group can add a sense of purpose and create a feeling of belonging that makes them feel more alive and secure. Exercising with a group can increase social engagement and keep the elderly feeling much happier.
Improved Cognitive Function
Regular physical activity can help to fine-tune motor skills and improve cognitive function in older adults. The results of countless studies suggest regular physical activity can lower the risk of people developing dementia and other types of cognitive problems as they age. Researchers think it may have to do with improved blood flow to the brain as well as focusing on the specific types of movement exercise requires. It does not matter what type of fitness routine or physical activity they choose. As long as people continue to be physically active as they age, they will experience improved cognitive function.
Improved Sleep Quality
According to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, there is solid evidence exercise helps older adults to fall asleep more quickly as well as improve the quality of sleep they experience. Aerobic activity stimulates the release in the body of some chemicals that have shown to promote more restful sleep. A study that was conducted at Northwestern University found older adults diagnosed with insomnia were able to improve the duration and quality of the sleep they got when they did aerobic exercise. Each participant simply exercised for 20 to 40 minutes four times a week and the quality and duration of their sleep improved dramatically.
Helps With Weight Control
Inactivity is a major reason older adults gain weight. Obesity in older people is a contributing factor to a number of debilitating health conditions that strike people as they age. Regular exercise increases the metabolic rate and helps people burn calories and lose unwanted pounds. Combining moderate resistance training with aerobic exercise helps maintain muscle mass and maximize fat loss in older adults. This also helps them to keep the weight off. Older people do not need highly restrictive starvation diets to attain and maintain their optimal weight. Adding physical activity and exercise to their daily routine can do the trick.
Exercise Is Essential For Older Adults
As people age, it’s important they participate in physical activity, including light to moderate exercise, to keep their minds and bodies fit and healthy. Doing safe low-impact exercise like dance, gardening, yoga, Tai Chi and water aerobics are great for older adults. It helps keep the heart, bones and muscles strong and flexible. Exercise can help improve their balance, posture and mobility and relieve stress. It also helps to prevent arthritis and osteoporosis, improve mental and emotional health, enhance cognitive function and improve the overall quality of life of many older adults.