As you age, the physical activities and exercises you previously engaged in can become more challenging. However, at this point in your life, keeping active becomes even more important to your well-being. Even moderate exercise can provide benefits. Exercise has been shown to slow the mental decline of ageing, including preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Exercise thus stimulates cell growth by increasing blood flow to the brain.
Aside from the physical benefits, exercise has been shown to improve the mental health of seniors, specifically by decreasing depression. Regular exercise can even prevent, or improve, chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, some cancers and more. Studies show seniors who regularly exercise have lived longer and have had fewer hospitalisations.
Many seniors do not exercise for fear of injury, yet exercising can help prevent injuries and improve balance. Improving your balance equals fewer falls. Exercise helps to keep you limber, strengthens your muscles and increases bone mass, which is essential to maintaining your independence for as long as possible. Although you may not be ready to run a marathon, there are numerous activities that you can try.
Walking can be a great, low impact, aerobic exercise in which you can start off slow and build up your endurance.
Swimming is a great option for those that might suffer from joint pain as the buoyancy of the water can relieve the symptoms while providing an efficient aerobic exercise.
Consider strength training. With light weights, you can work a variety of muscle groups in your body. Biking, whether stationary or on the road, is another great aerobic exercise that has low impact on the body. Even for those that are non-ambulatory, there are chair based, and even bed based, activities that you can complete.
Participating in exercises should be an important part of your life so be sure to discuss your options with your doctors.