We have all read about and know the importance of habitual exercise and healthy eating habits. Despite that as we age, sometimes we don’t make time for exercise in our daily routine and we slip into neglecting something very important for us. The benefits of a healthier heart, stronger bones, improved flexibility, sharper mind and overall feeling definitely outweigh not exercising.
John Medina, an affiliate professor of bio-engineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine and author of Brain Rules says that aerobic exercise “keeps cognitive abilities sharp and slashes your lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s in half”. That is an incredible statistic and something we all could benefit from, no matter what the age. Alzheimer’s is not just a disease that affects older people. “Early-onset Alzheimer’s can affect people who are younger than 65 years of age and close to 5% of the more than 5 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease have younger-onset.”
The benefits of routine exercise for seniors seems to be one thing that all health professionals unequivocally agree on – hands down. The best thing you can do for the body and the brain is exercise. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that seniors have even more to gain in becoming active than younger people since the older a person is the higher the risk of health problems that an exercise program can reduce or even prevent. “Some of the benefits of senior exercise include:
- Immune System: a strong healthy body can fight off infections and diseases more quickly.
- Healthy Brain: studies have shown that exercise can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
- Heart Health: exercise lowers the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
- Sleep Better: you’ll fall asleep quicker and sleep better throughout the night.
- Bone Density: exercise helps prevent bone loss, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis and accidental falls.
- Digestion: exercise aids in waste elimination and the functioning of your gastro-intestinal tract.”
According to AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), 40 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 64 are considered sedentary. For those over 64 years of age, that number jumps to 60 percent. These are troubling numbers, but can easily be reversed. Make an exercise date with a loved one – walk a neighborhood; shopping mall; play pickleball; take an exercise class; work with a personal trainer – there are so many ways to be active and get stronger. You’re never too old to start.
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