01 Mar Seniors and the Benefits of Exercise
There are many benefits of exerise for seniors. In order to maintain a healthy body and mind, as you age, regular daily exerise throughout your life is important. In fact, studies have shown that exercise over long periods will produce long-term health benefits.
SENIOR EXERCISE BENEFITS
According to the National Institute on Aging–part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regular exercise in seniors can:
– Help you to maintain your independence and enjoy life.
– Reduce the risk of developing some diseases and disabilities as you age.
– Be an effective treatment for many chronic conditions including heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, balance problems and low bone density.
– Decrease your risk for falls.
– Increase muscle strength and stamina.
– Increase flexibility.
– Possibly lower the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.
– Reduce insomnia and help you sleep better.
– Increase your overall mood and outlook on life since exercise releases feel-good endorphins from the brain.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY VS EXERCISE
Many seniors are already physically active in their regular daily activities. Walking the dog, gardening, cleaning the house, or climbing the stairs are examples of physical activity. Equally important, exercise is any physical activity which is planned, structured, repetitive and intentional. An aerobics class, swimming laps in a pool, practicing tai-chi or yoga, weekly dance classes, or regular weight lifting are all forms of exercise.
If you are already physically active it might be time to start adding some form of planned regular exercise to your daily routine. Experts say if you do an exercise you enjoy you will have a better chance of sticking with it. Note: Get approval from your physician before starting any new exercise program.
For seniors who have decreased mobility or are unable to leave the home, there are still a few simple exercises you can do. Keep a set of 1 to 2-pound weights by your favorite chair or recliner. Lift the weight in a bicep curl 8 times, rest 30 seconds and repeat. The NIH link below gives more details and specific strength training tips for seniors.
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