Find out why physical activity is so important as we age and find resources to increase your own levels of exercise in later life.
Exercise is important for all of us and helps to build and maintain muscle mass, keep bones strong, keep us supple and balanced, and helps to reduce the risks of chronic disease. Exercise is also known to help boost the mood and is key in keeping cognitive function at an excellent level. The brain cells you need for memory and thinking all benefit from regular exercise.
Unfortunately, as we get older muscle mass can decrease naturally which then affects balance and strength. When those things decrease, we can become less independent and mobile. Although there are live in care services and assisted living setups, ideally we can avoid the needs for that kind of help for as long as possible by remaining physically fit.
The Main Benefits Of Exercise For The Elderly
- Reducing wound healing time, and helping to boost the immune system
- Helping to protect against chronic illnesses and conditions like diabetes, heart disease and strokes
- Increasing stability and balance, avoiding falls in the first place and if they do happen, strengthened bones and muscles make a bone break less likely
- Better quality of life because independence is maintained, there is less need for assisted living and home care services, mood is boosted and deeper mental health issues like depression are soothed by being outdoors and getting around
- Longer life expectancy for many reasons, including reduced risk of chronic illness and mental illness, a better quality of life and a zest for life
Getting Into Exercise As A Senior
It is never too late to start becoming more active as an older person. The key is trying lots of different things and finding a type of exercise that you really enjoy.
You may struggle to walk, in which case there are seated exercise classes you can do. Maybe you love the water in which case an aqua aerobics class would be ideal. It might be that you love nature and want to meet new people, in which case a walking club in your local area would be perfect.
If you’re struggling to know where to start, perhaps you could talk to friends or family about it so they can help you look for activities and clubs in your area. If you have a carer or home help, they may also be able to help you get more active. An at-home carer will certainly be able to, and want to get you moving as much as possible. Your social worker, and GP will also be happy to provide you with resources.
Age UK run some classes for older people across the country, so it could be worth taking a look to see if any are run in your area. There is also a programme called Move It Or Lose Itwhich is endorsed by the NHS, offering local classes and trainer training for those wanting to run their own exercise classes for seniors which can be a perfect complementary offering for those with care jobs in the care sector.
There are so many great reasons to exercise at any age, but especially as you get older. Stay moving, active and healthy for a happier later life.