While exercise seems to become less frequent throughout the aging process, it is actually more important that we continue to exercise as we age. As we age, we start to experience things like muscle mass reduction, reduced flexibility, and more. Staying physically active can help counter some of these basic aging processes to keep senior citizens more comfortable and healthy. Here are just a few benefits of exercise for seniors.
Falls are the leading cause of injury for senior citizens. Regular exercise has been found to reduce the risk of falls because it leads to improved balance and stability. Falling also increases the risk of broken bones, which are not only painful but can be incredibly debilitating. Seniors tend to take longer to recover from falls, which could cause them to have their independence taken away from them.
Prevents Diseases and Chronic Conditions
The National Institute of Aging stated that exercise might delay and possibly prevent things like cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Since exercise improves immune function, it could be that this is the reason that many of these diseases can be delayed or prevented with regular exercise. Seniors also tend to have compromised immune systems, which can lead to more frequent illnesses. Light exercise, such as walking could help prevent common illnesses.
Improves Cognitive Abilities
Aging can lead to decreased cognitive function, especially when it comes to fine motor skills. Staying active and keeping a regular exercise routine can keep these fine motor skills sharper. Studies also show that those who are physically active are less likely to develop dementia.
Exercise not only appears to lead to more sleep, but it also seems to lead to better sleep. Insomnia can become a big issue for seniors, and the lack of sleep could lead to problems with the immune systems and cognitive abilities. While exercise alone can help with those issues, the additional sleep that many people report when on a regular exercise routine should also help.
Improves Quality of Life
The obvious benefits of exercise are physical, but there are also psychological benefits. Exercise can help seniors with depression experience an increase in mood and a decrease in the symptoms associated with depression.
Additionally, mobility tends to increase with exercise. This means that seniors may be able to remain independent longer if they are consistently exercising at least a few times a week. Fortunately, the intensity of this exercise doesn’t have to be severe. Instead, moderate, but consistent, exercise is key.
There is a social aspect to exercise that isn’t often talked about. Whether you go on walks around the neighborhood or frequent a local gym, you are bound to strike up a conversation with others around you. For seniors that aren’t otherwise surrounded by friends and family, exercise can provide positive social interactions.
Stronger Bones, Joints, and Muscles
Exercise, especially weight training, can help strengthen both bones and joints. Bone density problems are common with older adults, and a decrease in bone density makes seniors more prone to broken bones. Exercising can help increase bone density and lead to stronger bones and joints overall.
Muscle mass also deteriorates over time if the muscles aren’t properly utilized. Exercise and weightlifting can keep these muscles working their best for as long as possible. Keeping muscles in good shape can also lead to increased strength and flexibility.
At Plunkett Fitness, our trainers are well-equipped to help people of all ages stay in shape. We encourage seniors to set up consultations with our personal trainers to see how their lifestyles can improve with strength training and exercise. To get started, give us a call today at 913-390-3360.