Your golden years are your time to explore, spend time with family, and fill your time with whatever you desire. For some people, exercising is part of their daily or weekly routine, and for others, it feels more like a chore. However, simple exercises such as walking or stretching can impact your health even if you do it a few times a week. This is because any movement helps the body’s natural systems, which are beneficial for your overall health.
The local gym or YMCA can offer sports, swimming, weightlifting, and other exercise equipment. If you prefer exercising in the comfort of your own home, you can try workout tapes for yoga, Pilates, and others. Exercising a few times a week helps maintain a healthy body and mind, among several other benefits.
Regular exercise can help prevent major diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 14.3 million seniors 65 and older have diabetes. The body’s immune system is positively affected by exercise and can help fight against diseases, viruses, infections, and even decrease cancer risk. The internal body systems work together to fight diseases, and exercising stimulates the systems.
Improve mental health
Your mental health can benefit from exercise as the body produces and releases endorphins during physical activity. Endorphins are hormones that the brain and nervous system release, which can relieve stress and pain. They have also been referred to as the body’s “feel-good” chemicals. As a result, your mood can boost and leave you feeling happy and content after you exercise.
Those who struggle with insomnia, depression, and anxiety may benefit from regular exercise as studies have shown the positive effect exercise has on each of those disorders.
Builds social connections
Numerous gyms offer exercise classes where social connections can grow. You can register to play tennis or golf in a league once a week. Relationships can begin as you regularly see the same people each week. Keeping in touch with others is essential as a senior as it prevents loneliness and depression.
Joining groups that get together weekly for physical activity can also make exercising more enjoyable. In addition, your motivation can increase as you surround yourself with supportive people who push you to keep going.
Decrease risk of injuries and falls
Older adults are at risk of falls and serious injuries each day. Maintaining muscle and flexibility can help reduce the risk while improving balance. Arthritis in the joints can be managed by daily stretching, and physical activity as consistent movement helps lubricate the joints. Seniors can have a more challenging time recovering from injuries due to falling, and exercise is a great prevention method.
Lower blood pressure
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 22% of adults 65 and older have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease (CHD) or had a stroke. As a result, heart disease causes a large number of deaths each year. In addition, high blood pressure can cause not only heart disease but also dementia and diabetes.
Exercising opens the blood vessels and allows blood to circulate throughout the body with little effort, thus lowering blood pressure. The body does not have to work as hard to circulate blood when the blood vessels are opened. This does not necessarily mean high-intensity workouts are required, but any physical activity can help lower risks and maintain a healthy body.
Exercising has several benefits related to the physical body and the mind. Mental health can improve, blood pressure can be lowered, and disease and injury can be prevented all from exercising. You may have a hard time getting yourself to exercise each week, but joining walking groups or gym classes can motivate you.