Today I’m sharing a wonderfully encouraging guest post on the benefits of exercise for older adults, though similar benefits will of course apply at any age. There’s definitely a lot to be said for making the time to move a little more as we get older.
Growing older. The words bring on a flurry of questions and strong emotions. For many, thoughts about ageing bring about nagging fear and worry. “What will I do with my time?” and “Will I be able to do all the things that I love?” are questions that each of us asks as we go through life. The reality of growing older is that it’s going to happen.
Contrary to common societal beliefs about aging, there is profound happiness that can be found in later years beyond what you ever experienced in youth or middle age. What’s the key to finding it? It’s simple – move more. Read five reasons why you should remain active as an older adult, and learn why exercise is your golden ticket to optimal health, vitality and longevity.
1) Exercise Improves Mood
Regular exercise releases feel-good endorphins and brain chemicals that enhance your sense of well-being. Have you ever thought about those fitness enthusiasts and why they seem to spend every waking moment at the gym or working out?
For many avid workout fanatics, it’s less about the physical activity and more about positive mental health benefits such as less anxiety and depression. People that have spent years engaging in a brisk walk or yoga routine will tell you that an improved outlook on life is the single highest payoff related to regular exercise.
2) Exercise Fosters Relationships
Getting off the couch to exercise often means that you’re not alone. Seniors that report little physical activity are usually the loneliest. When you meet up with friends once a week for a tennis match or community walk, you’re not only reaping the physical benefits of improved coordination and dexterity, but also meeting new people and maintaining existing friendships. Seniors need to socialize in order to live fulfilled and happy lives. Exercise is an essential bridge to making connections with people who encourage and support you.
3) Exercise Improves Strength and Mobility
It’s a no-brainer. You know that you lose muscle mass and flexibility with age. However, did you know that exercise improves blood circulation, cardiac and lung function so that you can reverse many of the symptoms of deteriorating health? You don’t have to join an expensive gym or spend hundreds of dollars on the latest gimmick or fitness trend. Think, “tried and true” when aspiring to get stronger.
For decades, health experts have researched the type and amount of exercise needed to get you in shape and keep you there. It goes back to the most basic advice that often gets overshadowed by more complicated, advanced and unattainable fitness fads. You just need thirty minutes of moderate physical activity every day – nothing too hard that leaves you in a pool of sweat on the floor is required.
Stretching is essential, and don’t forget and include simple strength building exercises into your daily routine. Keep exercise consistent and simple and you will be on your way to a stronger, more agile body.
4) Exercise Improves Healing
The body’s ability to heal skin wounds and recover from trauma slows down with age. There are differences between how a thirty and seventy-year-old recover from a skin injury. If both are relatively healthy, they both will experience the same quality of healing. However, older adults experience a delay in rebuilding new tissue while the younger person’s immune system kicks out a sort of automatic healing jump-start.
What does exercise have to do with the healing process for seniors? It’s their healing jumpstart! When older adults are active, an exercise-induced anti-inflammatory response occurs. The immune system will send a message to other parts of your body that says, “Healing needs to occur now!” Blood circulation will improve and enhanced platelet aggregation will result in the body’s ability to heal faster.
5) Exercise Improves Cognitive Health
Those laps in the pool and tango lessons do more than just improve your flexibility and reduce your waistline. Have you heard that physical activity in midlife and later years can protect you from dementia in old age? Studies in the U.S. and other countries are revealing that seniors who exercise regularly are less prone to the development of Alzheimer’s or other cognitive diseases.
Additionally, a substance called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is released when your heart rate is elevated due to physical activity. Scientists refer to BDNF as the “exercise hormone”, Irisin, and numerous studies link it to improved overall health and cognitive function. Want to experience improved memory, to focus better and communicate your ideas and thoughts more clearly? Just get movin’!
Now that you know how important exercise is during later years, you can begin to make exercise a part of your daily life. Have fun with it, explore a sport or activity that you’ve always been curious about, and take a friend. Over time, your body will become stronger and more resilient, and your mind will become sharper and less prone to cognitive impairments.
A note on senior living communities – Allowing older adults to preserve their dignity, and providing compassionate service is a top priority of senior living communities. Their mission is to provide high-quality and fully-equipped apartments at a reasonable price. Never pushy – always available; dedicated nurses, housekeepers, chefs and personal care assistants are the reason senior living continues to grow.
[ Author Bio ]
Ryan Jackson is the SEM/SEO Manager for Landmark Recovery. Ryan brings expertise in mind altering diseases, substance abuse, and digital marketing. He graduated from Arizona State University where he found his passion for saving lives, helping people, and his love for marketing. Ryan also enjoys playing golf, reading blogs, and anything that has to do with marketing. You can find the Landmark Recovery blogs here.