Some believe we should move less to prevent injury or harm as we grow older. However, the truth is quite the opposite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that exercise is one of the best things an older adult can do to maintain good health. So, here are six reasons you should keep active as a senior.
- Better Strength and Balance
Exercising is a great way to improve strength and balance, but most seniors don’t engage in any physical activity. Strength-building exercises combined with consistency can enhance your stamina and muscle strength. By maintaining your physical strength, you can also preserve your bone, muscle, and joint health.
It’s also important to think about balance. We tend to be more vulnerable to falling as we grow older, potentially leading to severe injuries. By practicing balancing and stretching exercises, you can decrease the likelihood of you losing your footing.
- Fights Off Disease and Other Health Problems
Staying physically active can have a considerable amount of health benefits. Specifically, it can help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and more.
You can try to start exercising around three times a week. After that, it’s recommended seniors try to participate in physical activity for about 150 minutes each week.
- Improved Sleep
It’s common for seniors to experience changes in their sleep patterns the older they get. As seniors age, the part of their brains that controls daily sleep cycles, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), begins to grow older as well. Because the SCN is also aging, it can cause your sleep quality to be negatively affected.
However, physical activity helps battle the effects of an aging SCN. Regularly staying active helps older adults fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep for more extended periods. Additionally, exercise can improve your quality of sleep.
- Keeps the Mind Sharp
Our cognitive function can also decline as we age. Brain health can be affected by many different factors, but staying active can help combat some of these issues. One study done by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal found that physical exercise can improve cognitive activities, including memory, executive function, attention, and more.
By staying active, you can keep your mind healthy, which can help defend you against conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Continued Socialization
Many people become more isolated as they age, which can cause a decline in mental health. Physical exercise doesn’t always have to be done alone. There are a lot of opportunities to stay active and socialize with others at the same time.
Some people enjoy taking classes like water aerobics or Pilates classes. If you’re someone who isn’t interested in taking a class, going for a simple walk with someone else can do wonders. The goal is to interact with others and get your body moving!
- Improved Mental Health
Our mental health tends to decline as we age due to isolation, illness, and more. This mental health decline is especially true for older adults with chronic health conditions. It’s also common for older adults to be misdiagnosed when exhibiting symptoms of depression.
However, physical activity can help fight against declining mental health. The CDC reports that participating in physical activity consistently can reduce a person’s risk for depression and anxiety.
Staying active as a senior is vital to improving physical and mental wellbeing. An enormous amount of benefits come with exercising that fight off disease, loneliness, cognitive function, and more. Making physical activity a priority in your life is the key, even if it’s going for a simple walk. Get started today!