Why It’s Important to Exercise as You Age
According to WHO, CDC, and all health professionals, regular exercise gives your body hundreds of physical and mental benefits. Older adults can easily reap these benefits by doing two and a half hours of moderate physical activity per week.
Unfortunately, many seniors still give in to the call of procrastination and inactivity. In fact, only 34% of adults aged 65 and above engage in regular exercise.
The rest just pays the high price of a sedentary lifestyle, which is a disease-ridden body by the time you turn 70.
It is never too late to change your mindset and join the rest of the 34% in living a healthy and satisfying life! Here are the fundamental reasons why you need to exercise as you age.
6 Benefits of Exercising as You Get Older
As an individual gets older, their body becomes frailer and mental capacity weaker. If you want to keep your independence and healthy physique, you should start putting in the effort of saving your body’s deterioration through regular exercise.
It is one thing to know the importance of physical activity, and it is another to actually embody it. Start aiming to make exercise a part of your routine so you can see its tremendous benefits to your life, like:
1. Reduce Risk of Getting a Disease
One of the significant benefits of regular physical activity is its capacity to strengthen your health against several life-threatening diseases. When the body works out, many beneficial things happen inside, helping the body become its healthier and more robust version. This includes:
- Strengthening the heart.
- Improving the blood and oxygen circulation throughout the body.
- Burning excess fat and calories.
- Lowers your blood sugar levels due to muscular movement and energy consumption.
- Releases hormones that stimulate a mood-boosting effect.
- Strengthens bones and muscles.
With a healthy body system, there is no way that a lifestyle disease can enter your body. Not even diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, nor cancer.
Furthermore, boosting your immune system becomes essential now more than ever due to the current COVID-19 health crisis.
2. Improves Cognitive Function
Feeling more and more forgetful and slow-minded as you get older? Don’t worry; many seniors do. But you do not have to succumb to it and let it progress into something irreversible, right?
Fortunately, exercise is a mind-stimulating activity that keeps the brain active and healthy. It enhances your body’s blood circulation, thus supplying more nutrients and oxygen to your brain.
Moreover, studies revealed that heart-pumping workouts actually increase the hippocampus’s size — the brain area responsible for learning and memory. It also stimulates the release of growth factors, which works by improving your brain cells’ health.
With its direct and indirect benefits to cognitive function, it is not surprising when researchers discovered exercise’s ability to prevent dementia.
3. Promotes Social Engagement
One of the best indirect benefits of regular physical activity is an improved social life.
Have you noticed the high and cheeriness you feel after a bout of exercise? That’s because of the “happy” hormones released during your workout. This shifts your mood to a positive one, allowing you to be better at connecting with other people.
Other social benefits of regular exercise include:
- Meeting and interacting with new people at your fitness club.
- Improved self-esteem and self-confidence, which enables you to connect with fellow seniors confidently.
- Feeling good about yourself allows you to have a healthy social life.
- Developing your teamwork skills during team fitness or sports events.
4. Enhances Your Physique
If you want to keep your healthy body shape and prevent belly fat, then you should exercise as you age!
It does not have to be a vigorous and intense workout life you had seen in gyms. Moderate aerobic exercises for about 20 to 30 minutes per day does the trick. Keep this regimen, and you will see your body burning those visceral belly fat in no time.
Some of the best exercises for seniors who want to maintain a healthy and good physique include:
- Water aerobics like aqua jogging and flutter kicking.
- Chair yoga or tai-chi
- Resistance band exercises
- Walking and Jogging
- Body weights
Aside from losing weight, these workouts also enhance your balance and flexibility. Just make sure to do the senior-friendly variant of these exercises so you won’t overexert yourself.
5. Manages Stress and Mental Health
Sharpening your cognitive functions is not the only benefit of exercise to your brain. It also looks out for your mental well-being in a lot of ways.
For starters, exercise is an excellent reliever of pent-up stress and anxiousness. It prompts the brain to release endorphins, which fills the body with optimistic and relaxing feelings.
Working out also elevates your mood and allows you to feel good about yourself, which is the very definition of healthy mental well-being.
Seniors experiencing feelings of isolation, loneliness, and even depression can also use exercise as their solace.
6. Promotes Life Longevity
Ultimately, working out results in what all seniors want for themselves–a long, healthy, and fulfilling life.
With all its holistic benefits, exercise can definitely boost your lifespan. In fact, studies had already proved that regular physical activity adds up to seven years into a senior’s life expectancy.
Research also found that 70-year-old active seniors have the same heart, lungs, and muscles like that of an active 40-year-old adult.
Exercise as you age if you want to add more years into your life! No matter where you are in life, it is never too late to start living the healthy way. Begin now to start enjoying the fruits of your workout labor early.
The key is to find that willingness and motivation to start incorporating exercise into your daily routine.
You don’t need to start with heart-pumping exercises right away. Start slow and find the best workout that suits you. Gradually increase your activities but be careful not to overexert yourself.
It is better to consult first with your doctor, especially seniors with underlying medical conditions or mobility issues, before doing any workout routines.