8 Ways Exercise Will Benefit You As You AgeBy DuBose Fitness
It’s likely you already know that the benefits of exercise go far beyond just looking good. However, as you age you may be finding yourself wondering whether exercise and physical activity is safe.
The answer is a resounding yes! Of course, people of any age should check with their primary care physician to make sure, but according to a study by Harvard University, exercise can actually help delay the progress of aging! Senior fitness and adult fitness will help keep both your body and your mind healthy.
Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of exercise, particularly the benefits to seniors.
1. Boosted Immunity
As you age, your body’s ability to fight infection and disease declines. Your body is slower to respond to bacteria, viruses, and toxins, and even vaccinations may not be as effective in seniors as in younger people.
Scientists haven’t quite worked out how, but we do know through research that exercise can help strengthen your immune system. There are a few theories:
- A rise in body temperature may fend off bacterial and viral infections
- Exercise may help improve the efficacy of white blood cells and antibodies
- The boost in immunity may be because of a (proven) reduction in stress
Whatever the reason, a boost to the immune system is certainly a health benefit to exercise.
2. Reduced Blood Pressure
If you suffer from high blood pressure, be sure to consult your doctor before beginning a fitness routine. With that in mind, do know that exercise can help to reduce your blood pressure, making senior fitness all the more appealing.
Consistent and regular exercise strengthens your muscles – including your heart! As your heart grows stronger, it takes less work to pump blood and reduces stress on your arteries. Studies show that just 150 minutes of moderate activity each week can produce these results.
3. A Lowered Risk of Heart Disease
As mentioned, exercise will strengthen your heart. A strong heart is less likely to succumb to diseases including heart attack, heart infections and more. If you currently have a heart condition, it’s imperative that you speak with your health care practitioner before you exercise. But even just a few minutes of activity each day can help keep your heart strong and healthy.
4. Increased Bone Density
A very real concern for seniors is the natural loss of calcium and minerals in the bones. As you age, your bones have a tendency to become brittle and easier to break. Once a bone breaks, it becomes more difficult for the body to repair itself.
Fortunately, one of the health benefits of exercise is an increase in bone density. Studies show that weight bearing exercise can help to slow this decline, making you less likely to suffer osteoporosis and even fractures. You don’t have to lift weights, either! Even walking or jogging can help protect your lower body; talk to your personal trainer for exercises appropriate for upper body bone strength.
5. Protection from Disease
Exercise doesn’t only help prevent heart disease. There are many other diseases and disorders that can be prevented – or even reversed – with a healthy combination of diet and exercise. These include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Certain types of cancer
- Joint diseases
Once again, if you currently suffer from a chronic condition, talk to your doctor before you exercise. Then, get moving! You may find that you suddenly no longer need your blood pressure meds or your insulin injections!
6. Boosted Metabolism
As you grow older, your metabolism slows. That means that your body is taking longer to convert your food into energy. Generally speaking, this is because muscle cells need more energy than fat cells, and as you age you lose muscle mass.
There’s a simple fix for this: exercise. Senior fitness can help boost your metabolism by increasing your muscle mass. When you build your muscles, you’ll burn more calories – even when you’re not working out. Your resting metabolic rate will be higher, resulting in a fitter, healthier you!
7. Healthy Digestion
You may have noticed: as you age, you begin to notice changes in your digestion. Many seniors struggle with irregular bowel movements, heartburn and even ulcers. The reason for this is simple. The muscles in your digestive tract simply aren’t as strong as they used to be. They also may be stiffer, causing things not to go as “smoothly” as they once did.
Exercise can, in time, strengthen the muscles in your digestive tract. In addition, you’ll increase the amount of blood that your body allocates to your digestive system, making the digestive process healthier and more efficient.
8. Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion
Oh, to be young and “bendy” again. As we grow older, our flexibility decreases, as does our range of motion. You may begin to feel stiff, or as if you struggle to even pull your socks on in the morning! This is a natural part of aging. The tissue surrounding your joints is thicker, your muscle mass is depleted and the cartilage around your joints decreases.
Exercise is a great way to gain back flexibility and increase your range of motion. Even the simple act of stretching can help! Be sure to talk to your personal trainer about the correct way to master exercises for flexibility, as performing these exercises incorrectly can actually result in injury.
As you can see, the health benefits of exercise extend well beyond just dropping a pants size! The benefits of senior fitness is much more comprehensive, and it will actually improve your quality of life! With a proper exercise and fitness routine, you’ll be less likely to sustain injury, suffer disease and may even be at a reduced risk for stress-related complications!
Are you ready to get started on the path to a happier, healthier lifestyle? Give us a call today to set up an appointment! Together, you and your personal trainer will discuss your health and fitness goals and begin to work toward those goals in a safe, fun environment. Even if you’ve never exercised before, it’s never too late to begin!