Physical exercise is important for maintaining the strength, flexibility and stamina an older person needs to stay independent during their later years
We all know exercise is good for us, at any age. The benefits to both body and mind are tremendous.
In fact, the National Institute on Aging reports that a lack of physical activity is more to blame for limiting an older person’s mobility than age. That’s why regular exercise is so important for preserving the strength, flexibility and resilience a person needs to keep doing things on their own as they age.
Staying active can help you:
- Combat age-related muscle loss to keep the strength you need to stay independent
- Improve bone and joint health
- Retain energy and reduce fatigue
- Improve your balance to lower the risk of falls
- Manage and prevent chronic diseases like arthritis, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and breast and colon cancer
- Improve sleep quality
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Achieve or maintain a healthy weight
- Control blood pressure
- Increase or maintain some aspects of cognitive function
- Improve mood and reduce depression
If you’ve been inactive for a while, beginning a regular exercise program can feel intimidating. But doctors and fitness professionals agree it’s never too late for a fitness routine. Start slow, build on each activity and reward yourself for your accomplishments – just not with cookies.
Tips to get started:
- See your doctor
- Find an activity you enjoy, such as walking or riding a bike
- Make time for exercise – plan it like you would any activity
- Start slow and gradually increase the length of time and intensity of the routine; don’t push yourself
- Exercise with friends or groups for encouragement
- Set goals to stay motivated
- Aim for a well-rounded mix of aerobic, strength training, endurance and flexibility exercises to help condition the whole body and prevent injuries
- Stay hydrated and fuel your body with healthy foods
- Congratulate yourself
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