Exercise Benefits for Seniors

Exercise is encouraged throughout the lifespan and not stopping with advancing age. In fact, starting or continuing the workout journey is considered to be safe and offer great benefits to seniors. And with the advantages often outweighing the risks, exercise for elderly is highly encouraged and recommended by healthcare professionals across the board!

Benefits of Exercise for Seniors 

Preserves Lean Body Mass

As the body ages, it generally undergoes anatomical changes. For the most part, individuals often experience the exchange of lean muscle tissue to fat mass. Unfortunately, the interchange results to a declined metabolism, making it tougher to lose weight yet easier to gain it. Regular strength training or weight bearing activities can preserve lean body mass, ultimately offering metabolic regulation. But preserving lean body mass is much more than increased metabolism, as it reduces a decline in strength while sustaining their ability to partake in day-to-day responsibilities and activities.

Promotes Cardio-Respiratory Health

Aerobic exercise is encouraged to promote both cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) and respiratory (lung) health. Supporting the two strengthens the body’s ability to continue supplying the body with oxygenated blood while fostering healthy blood pressure levels. Since high blood pressure (or hypertension) diagnosis or risk increases with age, exercising can lower the pressure or likelihood of it rising. Controlled BP reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, dementia, kidney failure, and other severe or potentially fatal health conditions.

Boosts the Immune System

Regular exercise helps boost and strengthen the immune system, the body’s primary defense mechanism in fighting off “foreign” invaders that may cause infection and sickness. And even if an illness were to arise, a strong immune system encourages a quicker and easier recovery.

Supports Strong Bones

Weight bearing activities protect against bone loss, subsequently reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Conserving bone density promotes circular benefits, as it reduces the risk of bone fractures while they are less likely to occur if bones are strong and protective against falls. Seniors should still incorporate calcium and vitamin D sources to support strong bones, taking supplements as needed.

Encourages Bowel Regularity

Along with obtaining adequate fiber and water intake, regular exercise can encourage bowel regularity. Staying active helps stimulate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and facilitate regular bowel movements. In fact, inactivity is a major risk factor for constipation!

Nurtures Balance

Poor balance may surface dizziness, lightheadedness, and feelings of room spinning. Additionally, such circumstances bring a large portion of older adults to seek out professional help. Exercise can improve and nurture balance, reducing the risk of tripping and falling, ultimately lessening the likelihood of minor or major injuries.

Fosters Brain Function

Along with physical health, exercise can offer great benefits to the brain. Initial benefits of exercise can boost moods and reduce feelings of stress, sadness, and anxiety. Regular exercise has further shown to prevent against memory loss while sharpening concentration. It can also prevent against cognitive decline, further preventing or slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Elderly Exercise Tips and Recommendations

Embrace All Exercise Variations

Like the diet, there is not one single exercise proponent that provides everything the body may need. Similar to including all three macronutrients, a complete workout regimen encompasses three types – aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility and mobility. The compilation of all varieties offers the best benefits to total health.

Start Small

Especially if just starting a workout routine, it is imperative to start small to prevent against injury. Begin an exercise regimen with a few days each week, increasing the frequency as tolerated. Additionally, use own body weight or a comfortable volume in the initial stages and if or as workouts start to seem simple or less strenuous, more weight and repetitions can be added.

Be Realistic

Though perhaps a hard pill to swallow, you may not be able to press the weight benched or run that quick minute mile during younger years. While it is admirable to make goals and give it your all and best efforts, it is important to be realistic with what your body can do. The body often undergoes large changes as age advances, so it is in the body’s best interest to keep it working to its best function, just by not overdoing it! Because realistically, any movement is more beneficial than none at all.

Have Fun!

But most importantly, get out and have fun! Exercising does not have to be so serious, despite the serious benefits it offers. One of the greatest aspects of exercise is the heightening of mood, subsequently enhancing quality of life. So get out with your close friends, loved ones, and anyone else who may join you on your workout venture!

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Our team of dietitians, chefs and fitness experts love to share helpful information and tips to make living your best life as easy as possible. We stand for longer and healthier living through what we eat and how we live.