The importance of physical activity for health and longevity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate physical activity on a consistent basis is helpful for all seniors – even people with medical conditions including arthritis, heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure. It’s also been shown that getting active in our older years not only positively impacts physical health but also mental and emotional wellbeing.
Here are a few of the ways exercise can benefit the overall health of older adults:
- Protection Against Chronic Disease: Exercise helps prevent many chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Individuals who already have a chronic condition can still minimize symptoms through physical activity.
- Improved Function: A lack of muscle strength impacts mobility and other types of daily function, whether getting up and down from a chair or bed to opening a jar. According to the National Institute on Aging, even very small changes in muscle strength can make a big difference in function, especially lower-body strength exercises which can improve balance and prevent falling and resulting injuries.
- Reduction in Cognitive Decline: Physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive function, which could help those with early signs of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. A particularly encouraging study found that participants over the age of 60 showed fewer Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers when they performed 30 minutes of exercise every day.
- Prevention of Bone Loss: Both men and women lose bone density as they age, with post-menopausal women losing up to 2% each year. Strength training counteracts this loss and can actually restore bone density, leading to fewer fractures and also aiding in balance.
- Boost in Immunity: A 2018 study linked moderate exercise with a lower incidence of acute respiratory illness and fewer sick days off work. It’s also thought that the anti-inflammatory effects of physical activity enable better immune function.
- Improvement of Mood: Our bodies produce endorphins when we exercise which simply make us feel good. In this way, physical activity has been shown to help with symptoms of anxiety and depression and encourage a sense of wellbeing – benefits which have been proven continue well into old age.
Senior living can benefit your mind, body and soul.
A community like The Crossings at Riverchase provides convenient opportunities to stay active in mind, body and soul – not to mention the social connections and motivation needed to stick with a physical fitness routine. The wide variety of classes and activities at our community give residents a chance to have fun, become stronger and stay fit – all of which promote whole-body wellbeing.