Exercises are an excellent way for people of all age groups to keep fit and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. For older adults, these physical activities are even more important.
As we grow older, our bodies require greater care to stay healthy and maintain a great shape. Whether living at home or resident in a retirement living community, older adults can derive many benefits from participating in exercises.
Seasons Retirement encourages its residents to regularly participate in age-friendly exercise routines to live healthy, happy, fun, active, and independent lifestyles. This article highlights eight benefits of physical activity for older adults.
1. Reduces danger of falling
Research estimates that falls account for over 80% of cases of older adults getting hospitalized due to injury in Canada. As a result, it is safe to say that falls are the leading cause of injuries among the elderly in the Country. However, falls can be avoided if older adults adopt a more active lifestyle.
Physical exercises help boost the level of flexibility, stamina, and agility in older people, increasing their body balance, and making them less susceptible to falls.
2. Increases sociability
Physical exercises are best carried out in groups. Most older adults who participate in regular exercises often come together in groups of like-minded people. This creates an opportunity to forge new connections and friendships.
The bonds formed while jogging or working out together often transcends formal limits and provides older people with valuable social ties. These relationships help prevent any sentiments of loneliness or isolation in older adults, helping to stave off depression.
Older people who work out get to connect with communities of active persons with whom they can share experiences and receive encouragement and advice. This can help boost their feeling of independence.
3. Boosts mental wellbeing
This is another one of the essential benefits of exercise for seniors. Apart from enhancing physical health, physical activities can help improve your parents’ mental and emotional health.
For instance, studies show that physical activities are highly effective in healing depression in older adults. They help keep older people’s minds active and healthy.
Furthermore, older adults who engage in exercises have higher degrees of pain tolerance and enjoy increased confidence levels. This encourages their engagement in more intensive hobbies such as playing football and swimming.
Moreover, the body secretes endorphins while being exercised. When released in the body, these hormones serve as natural relievers of pain and stress to give off a sense of relief, euphoria, and happiness. This combats depression and boosts mental health.
4. Fights insomnia
In addition to these, physical exercises are known to prevent insomnia. Sleeplessness and other sleep disorders are particularly prevalent among older adults. One of the benefits of exercise for older adults is that it helps them sleep off more quickly, soundly, and regularly. Good rest increases one’s energy levels, supports the immune system, and refreshes the body.
5. Aids weight loss
Increased body weight in older persons has been linked to health conditions such as heart problems, cancer, and stroke. As previously stated, enhanced sleep is a benefit of physical exercise.
And sleep encourages weight loss by reducing the likelihood of late-night snacking, keeping appetite at healthy levels, and rendering the body fitter for physical exercise.
6. Prevention of memory loss
This is one of the benefits of physical activity for older adults. Exercises have a significant impact on brain health. They can help reduce the occurrence of mental conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in older people.
Studies show that over 70,000 Canadians are diagnosed with dementia every year. The risk of developing memory loss issues increases as one grows older. However, when people engage in physical exercises regularly, they are less susceptible to decreased cognitive abilities.
The following are some of the benefits of regular exercises to the brain:
- In healthy older adults, it maintains an excellent mental awareness, reasoning, cognition and alertness.
- For older persons at risk of developing dementia, exercising helps delay the onset of the disease and stalls its development.
- It boosts the brain’s capacity for memory formation and retention.
- Exercising encourages the production of chemicals that aid the brain’s function and protects the organ.
- It increases older adults’ judgment and rationalizing skills.
7. Protection against disease
Regular exercises can help your parents and grandparents fight off several prevalent diseases among older adults. For instance, it is estimated that one in every four Canadian adults suffers from hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.
Engaging in heart-friendly exercises such as jogging and brisk walking can make the heart healthier by enhancing blood flow and strengthening the heart muscles, thereby preventing a wide range of problems.
Furthermore, pursuing an active lifestyle can help avoid health conditions such as diabetes and stroke.
8. Increased life expectancy
It is our goal that our elderly loved ones have a long and healthy life. As a result, we should encourage them to engage in physical activities on a regular basis because it will help them stay active for a long time.
Experts believe that conducting aerobic exercises such as running and brisk walking for more than 150 minutes each week considerably improves heart and lung functions, hence prolonging one’s longevity.
How long should older people exercise?
To enjoy the full benefits of physical activity for older adults, your parents and grandparents should engage in relatively mild aerobic exercises like jogging for at least half an hour every day.
That said, it is worth noting that the regularity and duration of exercises take precedence over the intensity or vigor with which they are carried out. So, your older loved ones should focus more on exercising for longer than intensity.
Exercises are easy when they are made into a fun group activity. You can help by creating time to jog, cycle or take walks with your older relatives.
Indeed, the importance of exercise for seniors cannot be overemphasized. Its benefits are numerous, ranging from physical to mental and social aspects.
Therefore, it is crucial to work with your older loved ones to find and engage in healthy exercise routines that suit their needs and abilities.