Physical fitness is essential to staying healthy at any age but it can be vital for older adults. May 31 is National Senior Health and Fitness Day, emphasizing the importance of physical activity for seniors. While everyone is encouraged to get regular exercise, seniors should make it a priority to stay active as much as they can to lead healthier lives.
Read on to discover why physical fitness is so necessary for older adults.
Helps to Maintain a Healthy Weight
One of the main benefits of senior fitness is maintaining a healthy weight. The U.S. is in the midst of what has been called an obesity epidemic, with many overweight people being older. Being overweight in your later years puts you at an increased risk for a long list of health concerns, including the following:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea
- Fatty liver disease
- Colon cancer
- Breast cancer
Getting regular exercise can help you reduce your weight or remain at a healthy weight long-term. Exercise doesn't need to be strenuous to burn fat and calories. A 20-minute walk daily can help you stay within your optimal weight range. If you live with joint inflammation, you may opt for water aerobics or swimming, which burns calories while being much easier on your joints.
Strengthens Your Heart
Heart disease is one of the most common conditions in the U.S., accounting for more than 600,000 deaths annually. Regular exercise is one way to reduce your risk of heart disease and keep your heart strong.
While you may think intense cardio is the best for heart strength, this isn't the case for seniors. Any form of physical activity at any level can help get your heart beating and keep it strong. This can also lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, which affect your overall heart health.
Keeps Muscles Strong
The aging process produces various natural effects, such as sagging skin and thinning hair. Another result is decreased muscle mass and, in some cases, muscle atrophy.
You can practice strength training exercises to prevent your muscles from atrophying and keep your muscle mass up. This does not have to involve heavy weights, as lifting too much can damage your joints and bones. It would be best to lift smaller weights frequently to keep your muscles strong long-term.
For older adults, maintaining independence is of utmost importance. This is because regular exercise keeps your body strong and your cognitive skills sharp. Leading an active lifestyle and getting frequent exercise can help you increase your independence and retain it for longer.
Studies have shown that people with a good exercise routine are less likely to struggle with cognitive concerns and mental decline as they age. This could be because physical activity boosts blood flow to the brain and prompts the development of connections between your brain cells.
Promotes Social Connections
An often overlooked benefit of senior fitness is how it promotes social engagement. Many older adults struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness. Exercising is a great way to connect with others and build new friendships. This is especially true for seniors in assisted living who can participate in physical activity with other residents. Many senior living facilities also offer weekly classes encouraging residents to get on their feet and exercise with their peers.
Pine Haven Senior Care Services
Are you looking for therapy services in Sheboygan County? Pine Haven Christian Communities is a leading provider of memory care, assisted living facilities, therapy services, and other senior care services. Contact us today to discuss long-term planning and learn more about our physical therapy for seniors.