Exercise is one of the most important activities for maintaining independence in the elderly.
Despite this, becoming more sedentary with age is often the reality.
Staying fit and healthy for as long as possible helps improve happiness and quality of life. So, in this article, we’ll explore the concrete benefits of moving more.
1. Maintain an independent life – This is perhaps the main benefit of exercising in old age. While nursing homes are essential for some, many seniors would like to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. Maintaining an exercise regimen that supports this lifestyle is vital.
2. Better cardiovascular health – Physical activity for adults and the elderly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 35%. Heart attacks and strokes are medical conditions that, if survived, often lead to life-altering consequences. Exercise can, therefore, be a huge preventative intervention.
3. May Help Cognitive Function – Dementia affects many seniors, with the Alzheimers Society indicating that there will be over 1 million people with the condition by 2025. Some studies have suggested that exercise is one. measure that can help reduce the incidence of the disease.
4. Reduces Anxiety and Depression – Many seniors face social withdrawal, illness or disability, all of which can cause mental health problems. Exercise has a number of cognitive benefits, with studies showing it reduces anxiety and depression, boasting a significant reduction in relapses compared to other interventions.
5. Helps with flexibility – Osteoarthritis pain is a significant problem for the elderly, with joints and muscles becoming stiff and immobile. Although an exercise regimen cannot reverse all age-related joint changes, maintaining muscle and joint movement is essential to reduce discomfort.
6. Improve Strength – Muscles are wasted without exercise. In the same way that movement improves flexibility, the right resistance training strengthens important muscle groups to keep you mobile independently. This is especially useful when switching from sitting to standing, up and down stairs, or when walking.
7. Improve Bone Density – Many older adults suffer from a condition called osteoporosis, in which bones weaken and become more susceptible to fractures. Performing regular resistance training has been shown to maintain bone strength for years to come.
8. Prevents falls – Falls are a significant risk when people lose flexibility, strength and coordination. Other risk factors could also include illness or disability. Exercise can reduce the risk of falls, injuries, and potential hospital admissions.
9. Maintain hobbies – If an individual loses the ability to participate in activities due to inactivity, it can have negative physical and psychological repercussions. Hobbies are essential for staying socially connected and engaged in life.
10. Aids in Weight Loss – Diet and inactivity can contribute to weight gain in later years, resulting in a higher incidence of associated medical conditions. Exercise is not only a calorie-burning activity, it can also encourage you to eat a healthier diet. Additionally, physical activity can reduce the likelihood of type two diabetes by up to 40%.
11. Form a fundamental habit – Exercise is a habit that has been demonstrated by behavioral scientists to facilitate other productive routines, such as healthy eating and social interaction. Physical activity can, therefore, have a number of positive knock-on effects.
12. Improve sleep – Getting enough sleep has been shown to reduce the incidence of chronic physical and mental health conditions and is therefore essential to our emotional well-being. Exercise can help reduce mental activity and induce physical fatigue by promoting sleep patterns.
13. Supports Social Connections – Exercise, when performed in a social setting, not only makes you responsible, but is extremely rewarding. Whether it’s an exercise class at your local recreation center or a regular walk in the park with a friend, strengthening social bonds is a vital component of good health in later years.
14. Boost Confidence – More than just the physical benefits of exercise, regular movement and training can boost confidence, nurture the mind-body connection. Additionally, increased self-esteem through exercise can provide a boost to happiness and a better quality of life in later years.
15. Increase lifespan – Studies have shown that regular exercise can add 3-5 years to life expectancy figures. Physical activity not only adds years but improves the quality of those years.
16. It’s fun! Why do children play? They do not consider the benefits of exercise, but they view movement as their own reward. While you may find it difficult to get back to training after a long absence, you will soon enjoy the progress as your fitness and mobility levels improve.
If you have a medical condition or are unsure what type of physical activity is appropriate, it is best to consult with your GP or physical therapist before exercising.
Also, it is advisable to start small, allowing the body to adjust to a new level of activity to prevent injury.