What are the benefits of staying active for older adults?
FACT: The loss of strength and stamina attributed to aging is in part caused by reduced physical activity.
It’s no secret that staying active contributes to a healthy lifestyle. But regular movement and exercise can be a challenge for aging adults. Good news: Spring and summer are here! It’s time to get outside, move around, stretch, flex and fill the lungs. And reap all the benefits of being an active senior.
FACT: By age 75, about one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity.
While an active lifestyle is crucial for seniors’ well-being, it’s important to understand physical activity does not need to be strenuous to achieve health benefits. And variety being the spice of life, engaging in multiple types of exercise will help you look forward to each day’s activities.
5 tips to nudge you out of inertia.
Just about any physical activity will serve you well. But one of the biggest challenges is simply getting started. Here are a few tips:
- If you enjoy tennis, try pickleball, which is growing in popularity among active seniors.
- Golfers: Walk the course instead of riding in a cart. Remember to wear sunscreen and to drink water.
- Swimming is great exercise, and it’s easy on the joints. Join a municipal pool, community center or country club. Or consider a move to a senior living community with a pool.
- Join a gym and take a fitness class. A common barrier to fitness is often not knowing how to begin. A trainer can devise a program and teach you about the equipment. Consider a senior living community with health and wellness in mind.
- Walk — around the block, to the store, or at a high school track. Walk alone or with a friend. There are even “1,000-mile clubs” for seniors who strive to walk 1,000 miles in a year.
FACT: Among adults ages 65 years and older, walking, gardening and yard work are, by far, the most popular physical activities.
10 reasons why an active lifestyle helps pretty much everything.
- Overall health. Exercise benefits just about every anatomical system:
- Circulatory — gets the heart pumping
- Immunity — reduced risks of chronic illnesses and diseases
- Muscular — movement makes us stronger and more flexible
- Nervous — enriches brain health and mental acuity
- Respiratory — increases stamina by working the lungs
- Skeletal — maintains bone strength and prevents osteoporosis
- Weight. Exercise helps us lose excess weight or maintain ideal weight. As we age, our metabolism slows, so the importance of exercise increases. Adding activities — especially cardio and strength training — develops muscle mass. Meanwhile, your metabolism burns calories to promote positive weight loss.
- Strengthens bones. Like all living tissue, bone responds to our activities. When you exercise, your skeleton body builds more bone cells and becomes denser, reducing risk of fractures.
- Heart health. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Adding cardiovascular and strength training to your lifestyle will give you a boost of energy that will improve your overall heart health.
- Mental health. Exercise and even moderate activity has been shown to fight depression. According to Harvard Health, low-intensity exercise over time releases neurotrophic proteins, which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. This improvement in brain function lifts the mood and makes you feel better.
- Strength reduces falls. Aging adults are at a higher risk of serious injury in a fall due to lower bone density (see number 3). Building muscle strength will help you stay balanced, catch yourself in case of a misstep, and ultimately reduce your risk of falls. Low-impact strength training has the added benefit of strengthening bones.
- Better sleep. A sedentary lifestyle tends to lead to increased sleep problems. Conversely, an active lifestyle that includes moderate aerobic exercise during the day can help you fall asleep more quickly and help you achieve deeper, more restful sleep. The result is better rejuvenation each night and improved mood and focus each day.
- Controls high blood pressure. Exercise has been proven to reduce hypertension, aka high blood pressure or HBP. According to heart.org, being inactive is bad for your health, whereas physical activity directly helps control high blood pressure. In a set of happy circumstances, activity also helps you manage weight, strengthen your heart and lower stress — all of which positively affect blood pressure.
- Improves social life. Joining an aerobics or yoga class, adult sports league, or walking club will expand your social opportunities. In a more holistic sense, improved physical health gives you the energy and ability to participate in more activities, events and hobbies you enjoy, thereby keeping you engaged with the world around you.
- Fights dementia. Exercise is linked to improved cognitive abilities and better motor skills among seniors, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of age-related dementia.
FACT: A top-quality senior living community puts everything in place for seniors to live a more active, healthier life.
Throughout the country, Eagle Senior Living provides seniors with a lifestyle of life-enriching activities. To learn more about the benefits of choosing an Eagle community for yourself or a loved one, contact us today.