It's no secret that it's just as important for older adults to stay active as it is for their younger counterparts. Exercise helps one maintain mobility and stamina, reduces the incidence of disease and leads to an overall better quality of life. Here are ACE's top 10 reasons why older adults should be sure to get plenty of safe and appropriate exercise. In fact, according to researchers from Ball State University in Muncie, IN, older adults who exercised only one day a week to maintain their muscle strength, allowing them to avoid injuries and remain independent. Just imagine what more regular exercise could do for them.
TOP 10 REASONS WHY OLDER ADULTS SHOULD EXERCISE
- TO INCREASE BONE DENSITY AND PREVENT OSTEOPOROSIS
Osteoporosis is becoming a major health problem of old age. It affects some 20 million women and 5 million men and leads to more than 250,000 hip fractures each year. Exercise helps offset the incidence of osteoporosis by increasing bone strength.
- TO IMPROVE SELF-EFFICACY AND MAINTAIN INDEPENDENCE
One of the top concerns of the elderly is “losing control,” to be totally dependent or “a burden” to someone. Exercise provides older adults with a greater capacity to undertake the activities of daily living.
- TO INCREASE METABOLISM
Strength training increases muscle mass, which elevates the metabolism. This may also lead to a reduction in overall body fat percentage.
- TO MAINTAIN BALANCE AND IMPROVE REFLEXES TO DECREASE FALLS
As adults age there is a natural decline in balance and coordination, which can be postponed and even prevented with proper strength and balance training.
- TO CREATE A SENSE OF COMMUNITY OR FEELING OF BELONGING
Exercise groups enhance social interactions for many older adults who may not otherwise leave their homes. New friendships are also stimulated during group exercise gatherings.
- TO IMPROVE PULMONARY FUNCTION
Pulmonary function declines with age due to the degeneration of the vertebral disks, which alters the shape of the thoracic cavity. Physical activity, which decreases the amount of vertebral degeneration and increases the strength of the thoracic cavity, may lead to improved pulmonary function.
- TO BOOST MOOD
Exercise reduces the incidence of depression and improves self-esteem while providing a feeling of accomplishment.
- TO HELP PREVENT AND REGULATE DIABETES
Aerobic exercise has been shown to be an important means of preventing and treating non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus by helping regulate blood glucose levels.
- TO IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY, JOINT RANGE OF MOTION AND FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT
Physical activities that require the body to go through the full range of movement helps keep the body flexible and mobile. Circulation is also increased.
- TO IMPROVE CARDIOVASCULAR STRENGTH
Cardiovascular exercise helps maintain a healthy heart and cardiovascular system reducing the risk of heart disease. Appropriate physical training has shown improvements in most aspects of cardiovascular functioning.