It’s obvious to all adults that with age comes diminished strength and stamina. But as our bodies slow down, it becomes increasingly important to keep up with a moderate exercise routine to maintain and improve both physical and mental health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men and women over age 65 should do at least 150 minutes a week of a moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking, at least two days a week of muscle-strengthening activities, and frequent balancing exercises such as standing on one foot.
Here are a few of the ways that physical activity benefits older adults.
Helps Reduce the Risk of Falls
Falls can be devastating to seniors. Physical activity strengthens limbs and core muscles and improves flexibility, reducing the risk of falls and helping older adults maintain their independence.
Helps in Disease Prevention
Exercise reduces the risk of dying from heart disease and developing high blood pressure, colon cancer and diabetes. Moderate activity also maintains strong bones, muscles and joints and strengthens the immune system to boost overall health.
Helps Improve Mental Health
Physical activity releases endorphins, chemicals in our brains that relieve stress, pain and symptoms of anxiety and depression. It’s common to feel an overall sense of purpose, well-being and accomplishment after exercise. And if you work out with a friend or group, the social benefits are clear, particularly in seniors who struggle with depression and loneliness.
Helps Improve Cognitive Functioning
In the aging population, the risk of dementia decreases in individuals who maintain a moderate exercise routine. Challenging your body also challenges and engages your mind, which is critical to keeping physically and mentally sharp through our 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond.