An active lifestyle benefits seniors in a variety of ways. Exercise remains essential to maintaining health as you age, but many older individuals worry that they will hurt themselves when engaging in physical activity. Although it takes longer to heal after an injury as you age, moderate exercise provides numerous benefits that outweigh the risks.
Maintaining Your Health and Wellbeing
Although the body slows as a person gets older, exercising every day improves health. Nevertheless, staying healthy requires you to eat right, as the body needs energy for this physical activity. Individuals residing in an assisted living community find they have the resources needed to eat right and stay active. Why is this so important?
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Women and men need to maintain a healthy weight as they age. Excess weight is hard on the joints, and loss of muscle becomes a concern when a person isn’t a healthy weight. This leads to a loss of body strength and the accompanying health risks. Furthermore, a person’s metabolism changes as they age, so what worked in the past may no longer be effective.
Individuals need to determine how much activity they need to stay at the appropriate weight. This varies based on many factors, but the goal is to consume fewer calories than you take in on a daily basis. The only exception to this would be those individuals who struggle to gain weight. They need to take in more calories than they expend each day.
Men and women should consider adding strength training and cardio to their regular workouts. Both activities build muscle mass. This muscle mass boosts a person’s metabolism while allowing them to burn more calories with less effort. Many assisted living communities offer exercise classes along with nutrition programs for individuals who struggle in this area.
Reduced Risk of Disease
Two of the leading causes of death today in America are heart disease and stroke. Daily exercise reduces a person’s risk of cardiovascular issues, doing so by improving cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. In addition, exercise provides individuals with a boost of energy, and this extra energy benefits the heart. The senior feels like moving about when they feel energetic, and any movement is good for reducing the risk of chronic illnesses or cardiovascular events.
However, men and women must recognize exercise alone isn’t enough to overcome genetic issues and underlying heart conditions. They must continue to see their medical team for help in addressing these issues. Nevertheless, exercise also helps in the functioning of the digestive and immune systems while reducing a person’s risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Bone Density Improves with Exercise
Individuals, as they age, need to protect their bones, muscles, and joints. Doing so ensures they can move about easily, as these parts bear the responsibility of supporting body weight when a person is active. Aerobic exercise slows the bone density loss that naturally occurs with age.
Bone is living tissue. As a result, the bone adapts when forces are placed on it. It builds more cells and increases in density. This remains of great importance because seniors remain at high risk of hip fractures and other broken bones. Furthermore, remaining active helps individuals suffering from rheumatic conditions, such as arthritis.
Men and women might not associate improvement in their brain health with physical activity, but this is a benefit that should not be ignored. Men and women who get regular exercise find their anxiety levels decrease after moderate exercise because these senior wellness activities bring about the release of muscle-generated mood boosters. Additionally, exercise helps to combat depression while reducing stress. In fact, research shows exercising can slow the progression of certain brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease while sharpening the person’s skills, judgment, and learning ability.
Reduce the Risk of Falls
A person of any age may sustain serious injuries in a fall, but seniors remain most at risk if they lack bone strength and density. An active lifestyle improves a person’s balance while reducing their risk of falls. They build muscle strength and improve their health with the help of low-impact exercises. As previously mentioned, hip fractures and other broken bones remain a concern, so preventing falls needs to be a top priority for all older individuals.
Men and women who don’t get enough exercise often find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Staying active by engaging in regular aerobic exercise raises core body temperature. When the individual cools down, they want to rest. However, people should finish their workout at least two hours before they go to bed. This ensures the exercise doesn’t keep them awake.
Staying active doesn’t have to be challenging. Individuals find they can increase their activity level by walking, gardening, socializing with friends, or stretching while sitting in a chair. Swimming remains a great activity for individuals of all ages, as people increase both upper and lower body strength. The arms move the individual through the water while the legs kick or tread water. Swimming actually lowers a person’s risk of falling, as seen in a study conducted in Australia. Furthermore, it’s easy on the body.
A Balanced Approach
Seniors should focus on three areas when exercising. Aerobic exercise builds endurance by increasing the heart rate and breathing. Low-impact activities benefit individuals who haven’t exercised in a while and those who have a pre-existing condition or injury. With regular aerobic exercise, men and women find they breathe easier and can do more in a day.
Strength training builds muscles over time and helps a person maintain their desired level of independent living. Seniors need to ensure they focus on all major muscle groups when training for the best results. If weights are too much for a person, bodyweight exercises can help them build strength as can resistance bands. Strength and resistance training build muscle mass.
Individuals also need to ensure they stretch to remain flexible. In addition, stretching helps to warm up and cool the muscles to prevent injuries. A flexible individual is less likely to be injured. Furthermore, flexibility improves a person’s range of motion while reducing any muscle stiffness and soreness. Yoga is an excellent way to begin stretching and improve flexibility.
Always speak to your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. They help seniors find the right activity based on their fitness level, health, and proneness to injuries. The doctor becomes of great help in ensuring they get the benefits of exercise while keeping their risk level low.
About Chelsea Senior Living:
Chelsea Senior Living remains committed to providing seniors who need assistance with daily living activities a safe and secure home. Our team offers personalized support and integrated care while treating each resident with respect. We encourage residents to remain independent and provide them with freedom of choice while promoting their individuality.