There are many reasons why we tend to slow down and become more sedentary with age. It may be due to health problems, weight gain, pain issues, or worries about falling. As you grow older, an active lifestyle becomes more important than ever to your health. Here are a few health benefits exercise can provide:
Helps maintain or lose weight. As we age our metabolism naturally slows down and maintaining a healthy weight is more challenging. Exercise helps us increase metabolism and builds muscle mass which helps us to burn more calories. Walking is a great exercise as it can be done anywhere and requires no special equipment.
Improves mental health. Exercise is a huge stress reliever and the endorphins produced can help reduce feelings of sadness, depression, or anxiety. Regular exercise will help prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Getting active may even help slow the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Maintain and improve mobility. Having an active lifestyle will help you stay balanced and prevent falls by building muscle strength and improving overall bone health. Falls are serious at any age, but seniors are particularly at risk. Seniors who exercise have increased range of movement which can help reduce the risk of joint pain, arthritis, and osteoporosis.
Lower Blood Pressure. High blood pressure is common in seniors. As we age, our vascular system changes. Low-intensity endurance exercise training helps to maintain lower blood pressure and prevent the risk of serious conditions such as diabetes, heart attack, stroke or heart failure.
Insomnia: Certain medications and life events can prevent the body from proper sleep. Higher levels of physical activity can help exhaust the body enough to place it in a position for restful and lasting sleep. Deep sleep helps to boost immune function, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety.
Getting active is one of the healthiest decisions you can make as you age, but it is important to do it safely. Before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a preexisting condition. Ask if there are any activities you should avoid.