As we age, our bodies begin to deteriorate. Staying fit is crucial for good health. There are benefits of exercise for seniors.
Exercise and physical fitness activities have countless benefits for people of all ages. Yet, the benefits of exercise for seniors are of particular importance. Because of the effect that age has on the human body, our muscle density and mass decreases as we age. Muscle is an essential component of balance and strength. Without it, our bodies would be unable to perform day to day activities that ensure our survival and overall well being.
The many characteristics associated with old age such as the inability to walk for extended periods or for long distances and difficulties climbing stairs can be overcome with increased physical activity. Although many seniors often worry about the effect of strenuous activity on the body or that exercise will cause injuries or illnesses, the truth is, it is perfectly safe for seniors to exercise. The benefits of exercise for seniors include:
Improved Immune Function
Fitness enhances the state of the immune system allowing the body to remain healthy and vigorous enough to fight off many diseases and illnesses. Injuries take longer to heal as people age; as such, regular exercise can speed up the body’s healing capacity by as much as 25%.
Prevention of Diseases
Exercise helps to delay or prevent diseases associated with old age such as several types of cancer, heart diseases, stroke, and diabetes. Physical activities, even moderate ones, can help to manage pain from arthritis as well as reduce high levels of cholesterol.
Improves Mental Capacity
Research reveals that there is a connection between mental decline and reduced physical activity. In a 2015 study by the American Aging Association, it was concluded that, “Of community-dwelling older adults, those who practiced low to high levels of physical exercise, compared with the sedentary group, demonstrated a reduced risk of cognitive decline.”
Exercise improves blood flow to all parts of the body including the brain, which allows the body to function better. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia that affect one’s mental capacity can be prevented with regular exercise.
Improves the Overall Quality of Life
Inactive senior citizens who incorporate physical activities into their daily routine not only enjoy improved function, but they also experience psychological advantages as well. Exercise helps to reduce symptoms of depression as well as improve one’s mood and self esteem.
Since exercise improves one’s mobility, an elderly person does not have to be dependent on others to perform daily tasks. Instead, because of long-term exercise and fitness, a senior can remain self-reliant well into their later years.
Improved Balance and Stability
Falls and slips are the primary causes of injuries among older persons. Regular exercise helps to prevent injuries that can result in broken hips and bones by helping to improve the individual’s balance and stability.
The benefits of exercise for seniors are countless and despite your age or current fitness level, it’s never too late to get started!
One note of caution, please consult with your physician prior to beginning any extensive exercise program. They may even be able to recommend a program more tailored to your exact level.
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