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The Benefits of Exercise for Aging

By June 18, 2015Archives

Many seniors may think that because they haven’t exercised in a long time, they don’t need to. We know that exercise is good for the body, but the truth is that it is good for the soul too. Here are some reasons why exercise should be a part of your senior’s life and yours!

Good for your body

Exercise is beneficial for a number of body systems. Exercise improves the cardiovascular system by increasing the heart and breathing rate. This provides health benefits not only your lungs and heart but also to other body systems which get more oxygen and nutrients from the extra blood flow.

Exercise can help prevent disease or delay its progression. Studies have shown that physical activity and regular exercise can help prevent obesity which can have positive effects for conditions like diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure. Weight bearing exercise can also help maintain muscle strength which increases mobility and prevents weakness.

Good for your mind

Exercise can actually help keep your brain healthy and alert. The positive benefits of increased blood flow and oxygen give the brain extra nutrients to maintain those neurons which help us think. The adrenaline produced by exercise can help to “wake” the brain up, making us more alert. People who exercise are also more likely to be sociable, which increases our interest in new things. This helps keep our brain “plastic” and “elastic,” and let us learn and remember new things.

Good for your soul

Exercise can alleviate mental fatigue and even depression. Depression is quite common amongst the elderly due to loss of a loved one, changes in living arrangements, and physical decline, however exercise can help prevent or lessen symptoms. Exercise produces endorphins which make us feel happy! Additionally, the increased blood flow to our brains causes the mood centers to be more energized.

Since exercise can help build up physical stamina, we feel less fatigued, making us more able to participate in those healthy activities. In addition, dealing with some of our health concerns through exercise leads to a healthier, happier self.

Many seniors haven’t exercised in a long time and should start off slow. A simple walk around the block or even to the mailbox might be a good start. The main thing is to do a little, then a little more as stamina increases. With regular exercise, it won’t be long until benefits start showing.

All exercise programs should begin with a consultation with a healthcare practitioner. He or she may have suggestions, advice or necessary limitations to discuss. Just do as much as you can, when you can.

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