Enhancing Exercise’s Benefits for Older Adults
Like most people, you’ve probably heard that physical activity and exercise are good for you. In fact, being physically active on a regular basis is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. At Benchmark Senior Living, we make exercise and physical activity a regular part of life in our communities. Here are a few ways to do that. Be sure to check with your medical professional before starting an exercise program.
Be as Active as Possible
Staying physically active and exercising regularly can produce long-term health benefits and even improve health for some older people who already have diseases and disabilities. That’s why health experts say that older adults should aim to be as active as possible.
Don’t Be Afraid to Exercise
Exercise and physical activity are among the healthiest things you can do for yourself, but some older adults are reluctant to exercise. They may be afraid that exercise will be too strenuous, or that physical activity will harm them. The opposite is often the case. An inactive lifestyle can cause older adults to lose ground in areas that are important for staying healthy and independent: strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance.
Enhance Mobility, Flexibility, and Balance
Exercise can improve your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn can help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Manage Stress, Improve Mood
Regular, moderate physical activity can help manage stress and improve your mood. And, being active on a regular basis may help reduce feelings of depression. Studies also suggest that exercise can improve or maintain some aspects of cognitive function, such as your ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity, and ignore irrelevant information.
Make Exercise a Priority
One of the biggest risks associated with aging is frailty, but some health professionals argue that a weak and delicate body doesn’t have to be inevitable as we age. By maintaining an active lifestyle and coupling it with proper nutrition and other good lifestyle habits, virtually any healthy individual can stay strong well into their senior years.
Get medical clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a preexisting condition. Ask if there are any activities you should avoid.