As we get older, we sometimes tend to decrease the amount of physical activity in our lives. For instance, we may start abandoning a morning walk around our neighborhood, a weekly game of golf with our buddies, or even a weekly trip to the grocery store. This troubling phenomena is due to a variety of factors including declining health. However, regular exercise is vital for people of all age groups. Seniors can especially benefit from making frequent trips to the gym. To maximize the enjoyment of our golden years, the following 5 reasons to exercise regularly shouldn’t be ignored.
5 Reasons Seniors Should Exercise Regularly
Improve Arthritis Symptoms
Many seniors suffer from debilitating arthritis. As we age, some of us may battle the ravages of osteoarthritis while others of us might struggle with inflammatory arthritis. Osteoarthritis can be caused by trauma to a joint or repetitive stress to a joint from daily activities. Inflammatory arthritis stems from an immune system response. Regardless of the type of arthritis we have, regular exercise may improve our painful symptoms. For instance, gentle forms of exercise such as walking can lessen arthritis symptoms such as joint stiffness, swelling and pain. Stretching exercises can also be beneficial because they increase the range of motion in arthritic joints.
Besides improving the symptoms of arthritis, exercise may also be able to boost our memories. The results of a study conducted at the University of British Columbia show that regular aerobic exercise may “boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.” Because seniors are at risk for dementia and other memory related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, engaging in daily exercise may be crucial to maintaining good mental health later in life.
Reduce Blood Pressure
In 2009, approximately 66 percent of people admitted to the hospital after undergoing a stroke were aged 65 or older. Strokes are one of the leading causes of death and disability in this country. Thankfully, lowering blood pressure can decrease our odds of suffering this serious health condition. One of the best ways to lower blood pressure is exercise. Any type of activity that gets our heart rate up is beneficial including:
Alleviate Symptoms of Depression
Many seniors battle depression at some point. This unsettling reality is often caused from failing health, isolation, and feelings of inadequacy. Fortunately, physical activity is a great way to combat the crippling symptoms of depression. When we complete vigorous forms of exercise, our brain releases happy chemicals known as endorphins. The effect of endorphins on our minds is similar to that of the powerful drug morphine. Exercise also tends to help us take our minds off of our problems as we age.
Improve Muscle Strength
When we get older, we often struggle to complete the same daily activities we’ve effortlessly done all of our lives. One reason for this difficulty may be decreased muscle mass. In order to stay strong as we age, we need to exercise regularly. To improve muscle strength, strength training exercises are beneficial. Popular strength training exercises for seniors include the:
- Biceps curl
- Chest press
- Triceps extension
- Knee extension
- Calf raise
As we age, our need for physical exercise doesn’t diminish. In fact, exercising during our golden years may actually improve both our mental and physical health. For instance, visiting our gym regularly might improve arthritis symptoms, boost memory, decrease blood pressure, lessen the effects of depression, and improve muscle strength. Enjoying our golden years may be as simple as visiting our gym multiple times each week.