Modem portrayals of senior citizens show smiling, grey-haired couples playing with their grandchildren, enjoying a leisurely stroll, planting a flower garden, and otherwise enjoying an active lifestyle. But the star reality is that many seniors aren’t physically able to do these things There is no soccer in the backyard, enjoying a bike ride, or getting down on hands and knees to play in the dirt. As our bodies age, we lose the strength and energy to participate in the activities and hobbies from our youth. In order to become the silver-haired vision of health, we must be pro-active in our health habits, particularly in the areas of nutrition and exercise.
Exercise for seniors is a relatively new concept. Where adults once worked in manual labor through most of their lives, today’s adults are retiring earlier and finding less active ways to spend their time. We no longer have to physically work to live, forage for food, and chop wood for heat. Since life expediencies have increased and senior lifestyles have become more sedentary, exercising throughout adulthood and into the senior years is vital to maintaining healthy mind and body functions.
Exercise is commonly credited to a reduction in heart disease since it lowers overall cholesterol levels, increases the efficiency of your heart, and lowers blood pressure. Exercise actually helps your body in hundreds of ways beyond your heart and lungs. There are three important functions that are positively affected by exercise as you age:
Seniors are living longer, but how many are able to enjoy it? Diseases and disorders such as dementia and Alzheimers attack the minds of seniors at increasingly alarming rates Use it or lose it” is the new mantra of brain
function. Besides reducing the risk of stroke, senior and even elderly exercise is also shown to reduce the natural decline in memory function and cognitive abilities that
occur with aging.
Exercise increases our ability to move, stretch, and carry our own bodyweight, (which has been known to increase in the older years, but bonus, exercise can help with that, too). It helps us get up after we’ve 9t down, maintain the balance and posture to safely get in and out of bed or use stairs, and find food in the back of the fridge without straining our backs. This leads to increased mobility and decreases the opportunity for injury -two things every independent senior can appreciate.
You might remember the days when your thighs benefited for those long walks on the beach, but how about your heart?
The lungs, digestive tract, and skin also function more effectively with regular exercise. Senior exercise can greatly increase the efficiency of your ability to get oxygen to your organs and expel waste products This prevents many of the painful and annoying conditions associated with aging, such as edema, bowel obstruction, and incontinence.
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