Maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle is important for people of all ages. However, older adults are especially in need of physical activity as it helps to reduce many of the health issues that tend to develop with age.
From deeper sleep to disease prevention, the benefits of staying fit and active as an older adult are extensive. Exercise triggers so many vital processes within the body, making it so important for adults to incorporate into their weekly routines.
Fortunately, the options for exercise are equally abundant. Activities like walking, swimming, dancing and stretching are easy yet highly effective ways for even the stiffest of bodies to release essential chemicals like endorphins and serotonin.
Here are 8 other benefits of staying fit as you age:
1. Reduce Your Risk of a Heart Attack
Improved circulation is one of the many positive side effects of exercise. To supply the body with more oxygen, blood pumps faster through the bloodstream, strengthening the cardiovascular system and the heart itself.
In doing so, the body becomes fortified and more capable of defending itself in times of low blood pressure. This can act as a preventative tactic for those with a likelihood of developing heart disease or a genetic predisposition to heart attacks or strokes.
With enough exercise, the body evolves to develop a much more efficient circulation and cardiovascular system that aids people in feeling younger and stronger.
2. Improve Sleep Quality and Mood
Many people who struggle to sleep at night are battling due to a lack of physical stimulation during the day. If the body is not given regular opportunities to release energy, it may hold onto it until nighttime and cause disruptive restlessness.
Staying fit has dramatic benefits over sleep quality. Not only do people who exercise fall asleep more quickly, but they also tend to sleep deeper and wake up feeling more refreshed than those who do not.
3. Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Dementia is a widespread problem amongst older and elderly individuals. A study conducted in collaboration with the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease claimed that a stagnant physical lifestyle is one of the most consistently apparent themes across 1,600 seniors with dementia.
The conclusion drawn from this study is that people who do not exercise regularly or at all may have a higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s later in their lives. By committing to an active routine, you may reduce your overall risk of developing dementia.
4. Social Engagement
This one relates more to mental and emotional health rather than physical. Becoming active can be very difficult for adults, especially if it has been a while since they started moving. But gathering with a group of friends or joining a class can make that process so much more doable.
Social engagement during a fitness session can be just as valuable to an individual as the exercise itself.
Turning a frustrating, at times uncomfortable activity into a social occasion can allow individuals to relax and have fun, ultimately changing their perception of what they are doing and releasing even more endorphins at the same time.
5. Uplift Your Mood
It’s not just the physical body that needs support. Many people struggle to maintain a healthy mood. The challenges that ageing presents can make that struggle much harder to overcome.
When we exercise, the body releases two important chemicals: endorphins (responsible for boosting pleasure and reducing pain) and serotonin (responsible for mood stabilization, happiness, and nerve-to-cell communication).
We need these chemicals to function normally and feel good. Without them, we can become vulnerable to mental illness.
Therefore, it’s conclusive that exercising regularly assists in the upliftment and stabilization of our mood state. Maintaining a healthily, positive disposition as you grow old can be hard, but it becomes much easier with the support of these two essential chemicals.
6. Prevent Falls and Injuries
As you age, mobility becomes a major factor that greatly influences your quality of life. Even people in wheelchairs find life far easier if their chairs provide a greater range of mobility.
Moving your body around provides it with the opportunity for increased mobility and flexibility, which helps prevent falls and injuries from occurring. Accidental incidents such as these are widespread amongst the elderly. But with enough prior mobility exercise, they’re potentially preventable later on down the line.
Mobility exercises like stretching or slow yoga are a gentle and accessible introduction to fitness that even people with no previous training can quickly adjust to. It is also an area of fitness that shows results fairly quickly.
7. Prevent Diseases
Disease prevention is one of the main points of argument for exercise within the ageing adult community. Staying fit by doing regular physical activity provides the body with a slew of powerful benefits that protect general health, which can help prevent or delay the development of disease.
By helping the body to maintain healthy body weight, the risk of developing diabetes reduces. It can also help to fortify joint function, which prevents arthritis from taking hold.
In addition to these factors, it significantly lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure. This promotes overall physical health and potentially helps to prevent cancer.
8. Live Happier, Healthier, and Longer
A lot of research has gone into the long-term effects of exercise on physical and mental health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has claimed that one of the top ten leading causes of disability and death is a stagnant lifestyle. Other studies tell us that frequent exercise can add five years or more to your lifespan.
This is because exercise is deeply intertwined with so many vitally important bodily processes. Through exercise, you can decrease stress levels, sleep better, and feel stronger, all contributing to a high quality of life.
Regular physical activity has proven time and time again to be a profoundly untapped resource for maintaining good general health. As long as they are regular, even the smallest of efforts can produce a string of positive effects over time.