Staying fit and active is important at any age, but it’s even more important for seniors. Everything from taking an exercise class to walking around the neighborhood can help increase their activity levels.
Seniors staying fit can reap the following benefits:
They're less likely to fall
Staying fit helps prevent falls, because it increases balance and muscle fitness. Exercises that focus on leg strength and balance, like tai chi, can be particularly helpful.
Falls are the leading cause of hospitalization for people over age 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of these falls are serious and have an ongoing impact on seniors’ well-being. One out of three people who are older than 65 fall each year, and it’s the leading cause of all injuries, including fatal ones.
Seniors staying fit can reduce their risk of depression
Depression is widespread among seniors. A variety of factors can contribute to this, including illnesses and side effects from medication.
Exercise can be more effective than medication in helping with the symptoms of depression, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center. Staying active can also reduce the chances that seniors will have recurring bouts of depression.
They can help prevent or improve illnesses
Our bodies can deteriorate with age, but a good bit of this can be due to a lack of physical activity. Staying fit and active can help prevent a wide variety of illnesses, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Studies have even shown that it may reduce seniors' risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Exercise can also help alleviate the symptoms of many illnesses, including heart disease, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes.
Seniors can stay more socially active
Seniors can become socially isolated, since they often are retired and may not have the same circle of friends as they used to. Staying fit can be a wonderful way to meet other people who share a similar interest.
Taking an exercise class can help seniors staying fit meet new people. Having something on their schedules to look forward to can give them a lift.
Seniors should be sure to check with their doctors before increasing their level of physical activity. These medical professionals can help seniors determine how to lead a more active lifestyle based on their individual needs and limitations, if any.