Getting exercise is important at any age, but as you grow older, maintaining your health becomes even more important. The long-term effects of consistent physical activity are unparallel. Nearly every part of your body benefits from daily movement. Continuing your fitness routine through your older age can help you maintain your independence, improve your confidence, and open up opportunities. But beyond those factors, here are 10 more benefits of exercise for seniors.
- Decreased Risk of Falling Falling is one of the major risks associated with getting older. As we age, our ability to balance goes down significantly. This opens the door to falling injuries which can result in serious damage. Because bone strength and bone density decreases with time, a serious fall can result in a broken arm, leg, hip, or even a broken back. Recovering from serious falls is difficult as is, let alone during older age. These types of breaks could require extended hospital time and surgery to remedy them.
- Longer Life Expectancy
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sedentary lifestyles are one of the leading causes in premature death and disability. Regular exercise has shown to greatly increase life expectancy, with some studies citing five years of additional lifespan. Aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching are the three primary categories of movement that, when done together, can lead you to living a longer and healthier life.
- Prevent Cardiovascular Issues
The heart is one of the strongest muscles in the body. And also one of the most vulnerable organs to disease. Maintaining a strong cardiovascular system is important in preventing heart disease and lowering the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. Aerobic exercise is good for the heart as it raises your heart rate, increases your blood flow, and can boost your overall cardiovascular function.
- Delay/Prevent Disease
Aside from heart disease, older age makes the body more vulnerable to other ailments like type II diabetes, various cancers, blood diseases, and other serious illnesses. As we grow older, our immune systems start to weaken, making fighting off disease a difficult task. Exercise boosts overall immune function, which is an important tool in the management of preventable diseases.
- Increased Mental Health
During exercise, endorphins are released. Endorphins are known by many as the “feel good” or “happy” hormone. Endorphins are the body’s natural way of relieving stress and boosting your mood. Better mental health is important in living a comfortable life and fostering and maintaining relationships with loved ones and friends.
- Bone Density
As we age, our bone density goes down. Bone density refers to the amount of bone mineral in bone tissue. When we are young, our bone mineral is in good supply, which is why younger people are less likely to break a bone than older folks. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, or dancing, help increase bone strength and reduce the risk of bone fractures and developing osteoporosis.
- Social Engagement
Strong interpersonal relationships are an important part of any healthy lifestyle. As we get older, it can be harder to make and maintain friendships. Communal exercise is an excellent activity to do with your friends that also integrates daily movement. Going on walks with friends, playing on a sports team like tennis, joining a community gym, or taking a group exercise class are all ways to blend social interaction and consistent physical activity.
- Better Flexibility
Exercise isn’t just about getting stronger and improving your endurance. Your body’s flexibility can greatly improve with daily stretching movement. Maintaining your muscle flexibility can help prevent pulled muscles, tears, back pains, and body aches. Yoga is an excellent low-impact movement that increases flexibility, preserves joint function, and reduces the chance of arthritis developing.
- Improved Cognitive Function
The connection between cognitive function and regular exercise has been shown in many studies. The more we stick to a consistent fitness routine, the better our brains can work. Improved cognitive function helps with motor skills, focus, memory, and lowers the risk of developing dementia. The better your cognitive function, the more independent you can be in your day to day activities.
- Better Sleep
Sleep is incredibly important to our wellbeing. Studies have shown that we can never make up the sleep we have lost. As the body gets older, maintaining a healthy sleep routine can be difficult due to disrupted sleep patterns. Aerobic exercise can help promote better sleep by raising the body’s core temperature and encouraging rest as it starts to cool down.
Join VASA Fitness
VASA Fitness is committed to helping people of every age get healthier, stronger, and happier. With tons of premium fitness and recovery amenities, there is something for everyone. Between the expansive cardio deck, racquetball courts, and the indoor pool, you can find an activity that fits your lifestyles and your needs. Additionally, the Silver Sneakers group fitness class combines daily movement and social interaction for an excellent way to engage in a healthier and happier lifestyle. Call VASA or visit vasafitness.com and get started today.