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Getting older shouldn't be a reason or an excuse to stop exercising. In fact, it should be all the more reason to make it part of your lifestyle. Your weight may be fine, but if you don't do strength training and cardio activity, your muscles will weaken and heart health will decline over time. Regular exercise has many benefits for your physical and mental health as you age.
Lower Risk of Chronic Disease
Regular exercise wards off osteoporosis by putting stress on your bones, and in turn increases bone density. Regular exercise also lowers your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and obesity. Exercising helps you manage your weight, lose excess weight and prevent weight gain. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, it even reduces seniors' risk of falling. A Center for Disease Control analysis concluded that active seniors have much lower medical costs every year than inactive seniors.
According to Harvard Medical School, regular aerobic exercise lowers your resting heart rate, which can allow you to live longer longer. Harvard studies show higher resting heart rates indicate poor heart health and a high risk for heart disease, having high blood pressure, and premature, sudden death. Aerobic activity improves your cardiovascular system's ability to circulate oxygen throughout your body, which is crucial to the health of all your organs. With a slew of healthy, well-functioning organs, including your heart, years can be added to your life expectancy.
Energy and Strength
Your metabolism, energy levels and muscle mass slowly decrease as you age. A benefit of regular exercise for seniors is preventing that from happening. Thirty minutes of aerobic activity can give your day an energy boost. Strength-training exercise helps you gain muscle mass, which increases your metabolism. Tai chi and yoga are non-impact exercises with many benefits for seniors. According to a Harvard Medical School publication, doing tai chi prevents or eases many of the ills of aging. Studies have found it reduces the risk of falling, and that it improves upper body and lower body strength and flexibility. Practicing yoga can give you more energy, make your muscles and joints more flexible, and ease aches and pains, according to "Yoga Journal."
Exercise also has several psychological benefits for seniors, such as relieving anxiety, improving your mood, and even preventing mental diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia, according to Harvard School of Public Health. Tai chi and yoga are both meditative exercises that benefit the mind. For example, they work against depression and improve blood circulation to the brain.