You’ve Got to Move It, Move It!
One thing we can all agree on is this: physical activity is a good thing, regardless of age. Whether we’ve been on this Earth for nine months or for 90 years, keeping a regular schedule of moderate physical activity can keep us mobile, involved in the world around us and generally feeling good.
Seniors Need to Keep Moving
Anyone looking for suggestions on how to keep active in their golden years can find a plethora of advice online. From personal trainers to structured gym-based programs to fun, simple activities to do alone at home or with friends, there are fun ways to keep yourself moving.
According to the World Health Organization, staying active benefits older adults in multiple ways. Some of the more impressive include:
- Lower mortality rates from coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, colon cancer, diabetes type 2 and breast cancer.
- Improved cardiac and respiratory function, muscular fitness, and a healthier body mass index (BMI.)
- Increased levels of functional health, such as improved cognitive function and a decreased risk of falls.
The one thing that most often keeps seniors from engaging in these activities is something we can all relate to, regardless of age: lack of motivation.
Why It Matters
Regular physical activity can play an important role in seniors getting what most want in their golden years: maintaining independence as long as possible. To remain independent, seniors must be able to physically care for themselves, provide for themselves and remain mobile enough to take care of daily living activities, such as grocery shopping and paying bills.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, activity tends to give way to inactivity as we age. One in three men and half of women give up participation in physical activity by age 75. This tends to support the old adage: if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Contrary to popular myth, loss of body strength and mental acuity is not inevitable when we age. Growing older doesn’t mean we have to settle for a frail, physically weak body. Maintaining adequate levels of physical activity, especially in those over the age of 65, is the major contributing factor in retaining an independent lifestyle, in recovering from illness or injury and plays a large role in reducing the risk of disease.
Reasons to Move It
Not only will maintaining physical activity keep seniors feeling good, it can have specific benefits on various body systems:
- Muscle fiber amount and size decreases with age but regular exercise or activity can increase muscle mass in older adults in a relatively short period of time. A simple walk around the block can make a noticeable difference in no time.
- One of the greatest fears among the elderly is a fall resulting in a broken hip. We all tend to lose bone density after the age of 40. Staying active can help reduce the loss of bone density.
- One of the first places that seniors will lose it if they don’t use it is in their joints. The body’s joints need regular movement to keep bending, it’s as simple as that.
- It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can improve the fitness of your heart and lungs through regular activity or moderate intensity exercise. And it is never too late to start!
- Regular activity can help a person maintain an appropriate weight, while a sedentary lifestyle tends to promote accumulation of excess body fat. An increased BMI can lead to a wide range of diseases later in life.
It’s Never Too Late
It’s never too late to get up and start moving. Remaining physically active doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym, either.
Choose activities that interest you. Something as simple as gardening on your patio is a good start.
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