Most people become more sedentary as they age, and the chances for developing chronic disease also increase. However, elderly people benefit from exercise because it supports physical and mental health and slows the onset of chronic disease.
Adult children often worry that their elderly parents are not staying active and exercising sufficiently. Sometimes, though, it is difficult to convince an older parent to resist the temptation to be sedentary and take part in physical activity, which can be defined as “encompassing exercise, sports, and activities of daily living.
7 Ways Elderly People Benefit from Exercise
- Physical exercise can improve or help maintain high-level cognitive functioning and slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. This is related to increased blood flow through the brain and maintenance of critical connections brought on by aging.
- Remaining physically active is also a “protective” intervention for heart attack and stroke, diabetes, arthritis, respiratory illness, and other chronic diseases. It can also strengthen the immune system of elderly people.
- Inactivity can lead to obesity and bone weakening in elderly people. Physical exercise can improve metabolism and maintain muscle mass and skeletal density.
- Falls are a major issue for older people. Physical exercises, especially those that focus on balance, can improve strength and flexibility. This prevents falls and improves the ability to perform activities of daily living.
- Physical exercise can reduce the onset of anxiety and depression and reduce stress. Exercise increases endorphins produced by the body to help relieve pain, reduce stress, and enhance a sense of well-being.
- Sleep deprivation/insomnia is a common consequence of the aging process. Aerobic exercise promotes deeper sleep. It also reduces the onset of sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and other sleep disorders.
- Exercising can be a very important social activity that brings people together for a common purpose. This leads to better communication and relationship building, which reduces loneliness and enhances quality of life. There are many community-based organizations that offer group exercising for seniors, such as senior centers and the YMCA.
Exercise benefits older people. However, it is important to develop exercise plans based on the person’s capabilities and interests. Types and duration of exercises need to be evaluated before implementation. Consult with a physician to identify potential barriers based on the elderly person’s existing physical condition. If possible, get guidance from a professional exercise trainer with expertise in elder issues.
Learn more about how elderly people benefit from physical exercise by checking out a useful resources from the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Library of Medicine, as well as the Mayo Clinic. Also, if you want to arm yourself with the information needed to motivate an elderly parent or friend to remain active and exercise, take a look at this new e-book by clicking here.
Learn more about blog creator Steven Watson’s background related to helping elderly people remain active and safe by clicking here to access his Amazon Author’s Page.