Why Aging People Need to Exercise
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Why Aging People Need to Exercise

DonÂ’t believe that life after 65 is a time of disability. Aches and pains are inevitable. But your later years can be some of the most pleasant years of your life.

Do you want to live long? If you’re like most of us, the answer is “sure—if I’m healthy.” Most people prefer to live longer only if they can remain active and independent.

As you age, what can you expect your life to be like? On the average, if you’re 65 and a woman, you can expect to live 19 more years; if a man, 14 more years.

Will they be good years? Often they are.

Don’t believe that life after 65 is a time of disability. Aches and pains are inevitable. But your later years can be some of the most pleasant years of your life.

Many effects of aging are not inevitable. It’s never too late to become more active. You don’t have to e join a spa or even perspire a lot to enjoy the benefits of a more vigorous lifestyle.

Better functional capacity

Regular exercise can increase the aerobic capacity of a sedentary adult by at least 20 percent. This means you may be able to perform at a level of physical activity comparable to an interactive person 10 to 20 years younger.

You may live longer, but more importantly you may live longer years independently.

In general, the size of your muscles determines your strength. Routinely using your muscles in activities requiring pushing or lifting against resistance enhances your muscle strength.

Regularly moving your limbs, neck and torso through their full ranges of motion helps maintain flexibility by shortening connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments.

Healthier body composition

Regular exercise can help reduce body fat and help preserve the strength of your bones. You’ll look and feel better, and you may reduce your risk of heart disease and adult-onset diabetes.

Studies show that men and women can best maintain strong bones by combining weight-bearing aerobic exercise, such as regular walking, with strength training.

Better balance and coordination

Regardless of age, physically fit people generally have faster reaction times than their sedentary counterparts. Some scientists believe it’s due to an increased flow of blood to the brain which, in turn, increases the brain’s supply of oxygen. Decreased circulation of blood to the brain slows responses – particularly in older people.

Improved sleep

Moderate exercise, done early in the day can help you relax and sleep better.

Longer life expectancy

In a study of Harvard graduates, men who burned 2,000 or more calories a week by walking climbing stairs or playing sports lived an average of one or two years longer than those who burned fewer than 500 calories a week.

Strive to live to the fullest by maintaining a reasonable level of fitness. At almost any age, modest regular exercise can help you live better and linger. Also, it can reduce the period of disease or disability that may precede death.

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Comments (3)
Active Senior Living

Great article! Keeping seniors active is so important. Many would think that seniors should take it easy and nor exercise; however, depending on what health issues they have, exercise can prove to be very beneficial in keeping seniors healthier. Here’s an interesting article by Sunrise Senior Living on exercise and senior athletes: http://www.sunriseseniorliving.com/learn/Article.do?id=1827.

Patrick Roden

You can take the time to be healthy,

or you'll have to take the time to be sick.

Patrick Roden RN PhD