Exercise is Important for Healthy Aging
As we age, our bodies go through a number of natural degenerative changes. This is why aging and exercise become so important. With exercise we can counter these changes to stimulate and maintain your function level, mobility, and your overall health. We may not be able to engage in the same sports with the same vigor as when we were younger, but there are many ways to keep fit. The bottom line is that you are never too old to exercise. As you age, your muscles, bones, and joints go through a number of changes that will lead to decreased mobility and functionality without a proper exercise regimen.
These changes include:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Decrease in muscle size
- Decrease in water content around muscle tendon means increased stiffness
- Loss in the ability of heart muscle to propel blood quickly through the body
- Decrease in metabolism
- Decrease in mineral content of bone means an increase in fragility
- Increase risk of fracture
- Degeneration of cartilage leads to arthritis
- Decrease elasticity of ligaments and connective tissue means reduced flexibility
- Inflammation of our joints occurs
- Decreased elasticity and flexibility means loss in our range of motion
Regular exercise has shown to be an important element in preventing some medical conditions, including high blood pressure and heart and lung disease. Cardiovascular and strength training can also help seniors improve their balance and become more flexible, preventing common slips and falls and speeding up the recovery period from such injuries.
Aging and Exercise
What are the benefits of exercise
To get the full benefits of physical activity, there four types of exercise that are important for staying healthy and independent:
- Keep and improve strength to maintain independence
- Exercise is good for our joints, helping to keep them lubricated. When we're active our bodies produce substances that maintain smooth moving joints.
- Exercise helps with weight control. Carrying extra pounds can stress joints and can make arthritis worse.
- Stronger muscles support and protect joints as well as absorb much of the impact during physical activity.
- Studies have shown regular exercise can help reduce muscle fatigue and joint stiffness.
- For those in chronic pain, exercise can take your mind off your pain. Studies have shown patients took less pain medication after completing a walking program.
- Exercise is good for the mind and body. Studies indicate that not only can exercise reduce anxiety and depression, it can protect against many of the major inactivity-related diseases and health problems, such as heart disease.
- An all-round exercise program for an aging adult should include activities that improve strength, flexibility, and aerobic fitness.
- As we age we are at risk of having the symptoms of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. New research has shown that even a moderate program of exercise can decrease the risk factors for these conditions.
- Physical activity can not only improve your strength and balance, but also may help keep your brain sharp
- Improved quality of sleep
- Improved posture
- Increase in self esteem
Frequency, intensity and length of the exercise session are key factors when developing any exercise program. The health and physical condition of each individual is different, so each of these greatly dependent on the health of the individual. Consistency is the key to a successful exercise program. No matter how comprehensive a program is, if it is not performed on a regular basis the results are will not be maintained. A simple ten minute aerobics program practiced four times a week is going to be more effective than a longer routine is performed on an inconsistent basis.
Get at least 30 minutes of activity that makes you breathe hard on most days. If you can talk without any trouble, you are not working hard enough. If you can't talk at all, you're working too hard.
When you have strong muscles, you can get up from a chair by yourself, lift your grandchildren and help keep yourself from falling.
A good sense of balance can help prevent falls. Try standing on one foot, then the other. Get up from a chair without using your hands or arms.
Stretching and remaining limber will make it easier to reach down to tie your shoes or look over your shoulder when you drive.
Aging and Exercise
A healthy and safe exercise program as we age brings many benefits. It helps us to live longer, healthier, happier and independent lives. There are a variety of ways to enjoy physical activity, and if done the right way, you’ll be able to experience the benefits for years to come.
You can even turn your own need for exercise into an extra income producing idea by selling your exercise time. Many people today love their dogs but have little time to walk them for exercise. Here is your opportunity to earn dog walking income while doing something important for your own health.