Exercise and the Elderly
For the elderly, exercise is often viewed as something of the past. What good would exercise be this late in the game?
Actually, research shows that exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle no matter your age!
The Benefits of Exercise
Many of the health issues we struggle with as we age are related to a sedentary lifestyle. Implementing regular exercise is truly worth the effort. Here’s proof:
Exercise Improves Cognitive Function
Exercise can actually enlarge your brain! Through regular exercise, especially moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise, studies prove that there is an increase in brain volume. The increased blood flow from exercise impacts the memory and processing areas of the brain, as well as improving planning, organizing, and attention areas. If moderate exercise isn’t an option, these same studies have shown that any kind of exercise is beneficial to the point of being better than any medication for Alzheimer’s Disease on the market today!
Exercise Fights Depression
Exercise could basically be considered self-medicating. There are neurochemicals that are released during exercise that are an excellent mood booster. But even more than simply putting you in a better mood, exercise replenishes neurotransmitters that are essential to overcoming clinical depression.
Exercise Improves Heart Health
Regular exercise raises healthy cholesterol while lowering unhealthy cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. In short, it benefits your heart in a big way. Exercise is used in rehabilitation after a heart attack. It’s safe to say that it plays a major role in preventing heart attacks as well.
Exercise May Prevent a Fall
As we talked about in THIS post, falling becomes a real concern as we age. There are a number of risk factors, but exercise has a huge impact on the prevention of a fall, as well as the recovery from a fall. Exercise strengthens your muscles, including the most important muscle of the heart. With stronger limbs and better stamina, you can maneuver through life with ease.
Ideas for Exercise
It’s never too late to begin an exercise routine. After talking with you doctor, here are some exercise ideas to get you going!
- Walk – this is the perfect place to start. It can be done anywhere at any time, even for those who have trouble getting around easily.
- Bike – Find a stationary bike that you can sit safely on and get those legs moving.
- Water Aerobics – Exercising in the water reduces stress and strain on the muscles and joints. It’s also fun!
- Yoga – Stretching and deep breathing help to get the blood flowing and to open up the lungs for better oxygen intake. It can also be rejuvenating, leaving you refreshed and energized for the day ahead.
- Join a Class – Joining with others on their exercise journey is a great way to keep yourself motivated. Classes allow you to make new friends and also keep exercise interesting.
Talk with your doctor about exercise, then start moving for a healthier and happier life. Exercise is incredibly beneficial for people of all ages!