“If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself!”
~ George Burns who lived to be 100 ~
The benefits of exercise have long been widely explored, but perhaps the biggest misconception out there is that at some point during the aging process, this has to stop. Countless medical studies have found that exercise not only keeps the body fit and active, but the mind active as well. The range of mobility influences the type of activity a person can participate in, however, even if you must rely on a wheelchair to get around, there are still ways to increase the amount of movement you typically incorporate into your day.
Here are seven reasons that exercise is beneficial for senior health.
Keeps Memory Sharp:
Walking is one way to help get the body in motion and to also keep memories from slipping away. A study published in the October, 2010 online version of Neurology found that seniors who walk between six and nine miles per week are able to prolong their cognitive abilities and keep their memories the sharpest. In those who are active, the gray matter tissue resists shrinking which causes memory loss overtime.
Improves Sleep Patterns:
Many wrongly assume that restlessness and difficulty falling and staying asleep are unavoidable parts of the aging process. Exercise is one of the most surefire ways to steer sleep patterns back on track. Typically, seniors who exercise report getting a more restful and deep night’s sleep.
Improves Feelings Of Independence:
Many older adults experience feelings of sadness and hopelessness when their mobility becomes limited. By increasing exercise amounts daily, you are able to keep your independence longer since you will have the strength to do more activities without the assistance of others. Many believe that keeping active well into the senior years keeps not only the body, but the mind active as well.
Positive Impact On Mood:
At any age, exercise is known to have a positive impact on mood and often can help relieve feelings of anxiety and depression. While it is very difficult to scientifically track all of the impacts that exercise has on overall mood, those who keep moving seem to respond positively for a variety of reasons. When you exercise, “feel good” chemicals called endorphins are released in the brain, immune system chemicals are reduced (this can cause depression), the mind is released from daily worries and social interaction is increased.
Helps With Weight Maintenance:
Often when seniors transition to a more sedentary lifestyle, weight maintenance becomes a challenge. Some may have trouble holding on to weight and others may have trouble keeping weight gain at bay. In regards to reducing weight gain, exercise (even to the smallest degree) burns more calories than simply sitting in a chair or lying in bed. In regards to weight gain, those who exercise tend to have heartier appetites and healthier metabolisms and therefore weight is more apt to level out to a healthy norm.
Reduce Risk Of Falling:
This is perhaps one of the most amazing results of senior exercise. As we age, the risk of taking a nasty fall increases as balance and muscle composition are compromised. When exercise is involved, muscle strength can be restored to a healthy level.
Keeps Other Health Risks At Bay:
In addition to the many benefits listed above, overall health is also benefited through consistent exercise. Conditions including arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure are prevented or improved through maintaining a healthy exercise schedule.
Share Your Thoughts With Us:
Do you have any additional thoughts on exercise and the senior population? Do you have specific workouts that you recommend? We would love to hear from you! Let us know what you think.
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