Exercise is vital for everyone, regardless of age. However, exercise is essential for seniors to maintain both physical and mental health. If you are getting older, you are probably well aware of some of the changes that are starting to happen. From more aches and pains to a decrease in energy levels, it can be easy to become sedentary. However, research has shown that exercise is one of the most effective ways to combat many age-related changes. If you are curious about which changes, keep reading to learn the benefits of exercise for seniors!
How Often Should Seniors Exercise?
One of the first questions is how much exercise do you need as a senior citizen to get the benefits? And that’s a great question! The National Institute on Aging recommends that seniors aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week, such as walking, swimming, or gardening. In addition, they suggest strength training two or more days a week to help preserve muscle mass.
However, it’s important to check with a doctor before starting any new exercise routine, as some seniors may have health conditions that need to be considered. For example, those with arthritis may need to avoid high-impact activities in favor of low-impact ones. Ultimately, the best exercise routine for seniors is a safe one, prescribed by a doctor if necessary, and one that they will stick to. With a little planning, seniors can maintain their health and independence well into their golden years.
The Benefits Of Exercise For Seniors
As long as you are getting the recommended amount of exercise, myriad benefits come with it. For example, regular exercise has been shown to:
- Improve cognitive function
- Lower the risk of falls
- Reduce depression and anxiety
- Increase life expectancy
- Boost energy levels
- Improve sleep quality
But just reading a list of benefits isn’t enough to get you excited about exercising. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the most impactful benefits of exercise for seniors.
Improved Cognitive Function
As people age, they often worry about losing their mental sharpness. Fortunately, some things can be done to help keep the mind sharp, and one of the best is exercise. Exercise has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain, providing more oxygen and nutrients to cells. This can help to protect against damage from Alzheimer’s and other age-related diseases.
In addition, exercise has been shown to increase the production of neurotrophic factors, which help to support the growth and survival of neurons. As a result, exercise can help to keep the brain healthy and improve cognitive function in seniors. So if you’re looking for a way to stay mentally sharp as you age, don’t forget to add exercise to your routine.
Lower The Risk Of Falls
Unsurprisingly, many people become less active when they become seniors. This can lead to several health problems, including an increased risk of falling. Falls are a leading cause of injury in seniors and can often be prevented with regular exercise. Exercise helps to improve balance and coordination, two essential skills for preventing falls.
Furthermore, it helps to increase muscle strength and flexibility, reducing the risk of falls. For seniors concerned about falling, regular exercise is an effective way to lower the risk. And plenty of activities can be tailored to each individual’s fitness level. Even simple exercises like walking or gentle stretching can make a difference in preventing falls.
Reduce Depression And Anxiety
As you just learned, exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of developing dementia and can improve cognitive function in seniors. But did you know that exercise can also help to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety? A recent study found that seniors who participated in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise three times a week for 16 weeks had significantly lower levels of depression and anxiety than those who didn’t exercise.
Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects, and it also helps to improve sleep quality. In addition, exercise can help increase self-esteem and confidence, particularly for seniors who may feel isolated or lonely. So if you’re feeling down, hit the gym or go for a walk – it just might make all the difference.
Increase Life Expectancy
There’s no doubt that exercise is good for you. It can improve your cardiovascular health, help to prevent obesity, and boost your mood. But did you know that exercise can also help to increase your life expectancy? A recent study found that seniors who engaged in regular physical activity had a significantly lower risk of dying over 12 years than those who were inactive. And the benefits of exercise were even more pronounced in those aged 85 and over.
The biggest factor in the study was cardiovascular fitness, which is yet another reason to make exercise a part of your routine. So if you’re looking to improve your health and add some extra years to your life, don’t forget the importance of regular exercise.
Boost Energy Levels
Even if you are not quite senior yet, you have probably experienced a decline in energy levels. This can make it difficult to stay active and motivated. However, research has shown that regular exercise can help to boost energy levels in seniors. One study found that older adults who began a moderate-intensity exercise program reported feeling more energetic after just eight weeks.
Furthermore, the benefits of exercise can last long after the workout. So, even if you’re feeling a bit sluggish, a quick walk or bike ride can help give you the energy boost you need to get through the day. However, starting slowly and building up to more intense workouts is important. Otherwise, you may end up feeling even more exhausted.
Improve Sleep Quality
One of the most common complaints of seniors is that they don’t sleep as well as they used to. This can be a big problem, as poor sleep can lead to health problems, decreased mental sharpness, and a general decline in quality of life. Luckily, exercise is one very practical and easy way to improve sleep quality in seniors.
Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day has significantly improved sleep quality. Exercise helps to release endorphins that promote relaxation, and it also helps to regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. As a result, seniors who make exercise a part of their daily routine will likely find that their sleep quality improves significantly.
Starting Gaining The Benefits Of Exercise For Seniors!
As you can see, there are many benefits of exercise for seniors. And while some of these benefits may be more important to you than others, one thing is for sure: exercise is essential for maintaining good health as you age. So get moving and enjoy all the benefits of regular physical activity. After all, it’s never too late to start living a healthier life, and exercise is a great place to start.