As we age we should constantly be searching for ways to optimize our physical, mental, and emotional well-being to remain as healthy as possible throughout our senior years. Nutrition is of course of vital importance and so is physical activity. Exercising on a regular basis is crucial to maintaining health as we age. It offers a wealth of benefits to seniors who make physical activities a part of their daily lives.
As a matter of fact, exercise is one of the most vital components of a healthy lifestyle at any age, but especially for aging adults. Today we will take a look at some insights from experts as to the exact role that remaining physically active plays in our senior years as well as how to incorporate exercise into our lives safely and effectively.
Top Benefits of Exercise For Seniors
There are many high-priority reasons why exercise should be a priority for all seniors. No matter your health or mobility level there is a form of exercise that can benefit you. It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider to be sure that the activities that you are considering are right for you. Here are the top life-changing benefits of exercise for people over 60 as outlined by the National Council on Aging:
Exercise prevents bone loss. Decreasing bone density is a concern for both men and women as we age. Post-menopausal women can lose as much as 2% of their bone density each year putting them at increased risk of broken bones from falls. Regular strength training is one of the best ways to stop bone loss and in many cases even restore some of your bone’s density over time. Stronger bones mean better balance and a lower risk of fractures which can help seniors live independently for much longer.
Regular physical activity helps to prevent cognitive decline and chronic diseases. The older we get the more at risk we are to develop chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. And as the years go by our cognitive abilities have a tendency to slow down. Proper exercise can help older adults to prevent many of these medical conditions from developing and minimize the symptoms and effects of many preexisting conditions. Studies have even found a link between exercising on a regular basis and reduced risk of cognitive decline. One study found fewer biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in people over 60 who engaged in exercise for 30 minutes per day. So physical activity is good for both the body and the brain.
Exercise can provide relief from the joint pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Multiple studies have shown a decrease in pain and stiffness among those with osteoarthritis who engage in regular exercise. Exercise strengthens the muscles and connective tissues that support the joints to reduce pressure placed on arthritic joints. It also increases the range of motion to ease stiffness. Movement of the joints helps to keep them better lubricated as well which can further reduce pain and inflammation. Low-impact activities like walking and aqua therapy are great exercises for arthritis sufferers.
Exercise may help strengthen your immune system. Though they don’t fully understand how it works, some researchers have found a possible link between moderate exercise and fewer respiratory illnesses. They theorize that exercise reduces inflammation in the body and improves immune function. However it works, everyone can use a boost in immunity, especially seniors.
Physical activity improves mood and mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones that come with a variety of benefits related to mood and emotional well-being. Studies have found a regular exercise routine has the ability to decrease feelings of anxiety, lessen depression, and promote a sense of overall improved well-being. And these mood-enhancing benefits continue well into their senior years, which is one more reason that it’s important for seniors to maintain an active lifestyle.
At Ashbridge Manor Senior Living we pride ourselves on creating an environment that enables seniors to lead a fulfilling, socially active, and independent lifestyle. When it’s time to transition to a senior living facility, contact our professional staff members. We can help make it easy. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information. Ask us about our move-in special!