Your body goes through physical changes as you age, some of which can lead to chronic health conditions. Some of the natural age-related changes include reduced muscle strength, increased body fat, reduced bone density, stiffer joints, and poorer healthy conditions.
Although normal, the effects make older adults more likely to fall and break their bones, cause mobility and balance problems, and increase the risk for other ailments, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Contrary to what most people believe, however, loss of balance, weakness, and other symptoms of aging are often caused by inactivity and not necessarily because you’re getting older.
When a femur of a 70-year-old triathlete was compared to that of a 74-year-old sedentary man, it appeared thicker and indicates that bone mineral density is retained. The same is true for the muscle mass while the fatness or adiposity is limited.
It is clear that through exercise and staying active, you can reduce the impact of aging on your body and on your life, and keep the negative effects at bay.
Importance of Exercise for Older Adults
Keep your body healthy for longer
Your body will benefit most with regular exercise, especially with a routine that targets a specific condition. People with arthritis, for example, can follow an exercise plan dedicated to increasing muscle mass and flexibility, improving mobility, and reducing pain.
A regular course of exercise, on the other hand, will push back or fight off age-related chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.
If you want to maintain a good balance as you age, walking is highly recommended. Other exercises that will keep you moving and active will work just as well in reducing your chances of falling.
Keep your mind at ease
Stress is both a boon and a bane, depending on how you handle it.
Use it as a motivator and you can achieve many things and feel good about yourself. Allow it to control you and it can lead to high blood pressure, sleep deprivation, gastrointestinal issues, and other negative physical manifestations.
But physical activity is the best solution.
According to an ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) online poll, regular exercise is one of the coping mechanisms used by some 14% of participants. It is also the most recommended by health care professionals.
Exercise and other physical activities produce endorphins, the brain’s natural painkillers, and promote better sleep, the combination of which effectively reduces stress.
Scientists also discovered that a five-minute regular participation in aerobic exercise stimulates anti-anxiety effects, resulting in the following:
- Decreased overall levels of tension
- Improved sleep and self-esteem
- Elevated and stabilized mood
When it comes to getting a better handle with stress, yoga can help with stress management.
Ideal forms of exercise
Tai Chi or Yoga
This is highly recommended for older adults living alone and in need of socialization. The activity not only helps you become a part of a community but also builds strength, balance, and flexibility.
Solo Walk or Jog
Want to give your mind a break from the pressures of life and other people? Go for a walk or jog alone. Get your heart rate elevated and feel good without others intruding on your walk or jog.
Not an exercise per se, but physiotherapists are your best source for ideas and advice on the safest form of exercise for your age. They can identify the various factors that keep you from being active and provide suitable solutions.
The physiotherapy services they offer, such as the General Physiotherapy from CBD Physio, also result in positive impact similar to what exercise offers.
Physiotherapy can improve balance, coordination, flexibility, pain levels, strength and other factors that have deteriorated due to aging. This results in improved functional ability, health, well-being, and independence.
Your session with a physiotherapist will start with a detailed assessment of the areas highly affected by age-related changes. Based on the data collected, they will design a program tailored to your needs.
Now that you know age is just a number where your health is concerned, start exercising and stay mobile and functional even when you reach 70 or 80.