8 Reasons Exercise is Important for Seniors

When exercise is not a routine, it’s easy to forget about it. While walking is a great way to move, there are other, more important forms of exercise that are specifically required for seniors in order to keep seniors strong, flexible and aerobically fit. Not to mention as a way of preventing arthritis, high blood pressure, reducing the risk of falls and osteoporosis.

Exercise for seniors should be something performed daily, and making it fun and a routine can help in the long term. Following are 10 reasons seniors should continue to exercise.

  1. Arthritis: Exercise is one of the most crucial options for arthritis management. Regular activity can help reduce overall pain and stiffness that is often present among individuals with arthritis. Moreover, obesity is a risk factor for the disease, and increasing physical activity levels can help better manage the debilitating symptoms of arthritis.

  2. Heart disease: Heart disease is one of the biggest causes of death in Australia. By having strong muscles and a body weight that is suitable, it can assist in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

  3. Metabolic Dysfunction (type II diabetes and obesity): Type II diabetes and obesity are two closely related diseases in which the body is in metabolic dysfunction. Exercise can help maintain proper body weight and help regulate blood glucose and insulin levels to make the body more efficient.

  4. Cancer: Exercise has been shown to help improve overall cancer risk among a variety of different forms of cancer.

  5. Hypertension: Exercise can help lower blood pressure significantly through moderate-intensity physical activity.

  6. Depression: Exercise can have a beneficial effect on personal mood. Studies suggest that group exercise classes among older adults can help reduce symptoms of depression by 30 percent or more in exercising seniors The modest improvement in depressive symptoms can help maintain an overall greater vitality later in life and help prevent negative feelings or thoughts that are common with aging. In addition - doing functional exercises in groups increases social interaction

  7. Dementia: Dementia is a disabling condition affecting many older adults. With a wide range of mental disorders categorized as dementia, there is a great need to understand how to prevent the condition. Exercise is one prevention strategy that can help slow the mental decline.

  8. Quality of life: Maintaining functional independence is something many older adults want. A regular exercise inclusive of strength and balance training can help accomplish this. Aim to be physically active for 30 minutes every day and to strength train at least two non-consecutive days per week.

  9. Insomnia: Certain medications and life events can prevent the body from proper sleep. Higher levels of physical activity can help exhaust the body enough to place it in a position for restful and lasting sleep. Avoid strenuous exercise two hours before bed to obtain these benefits, and aim to meet the daily activity recommendations.

Walking alone is not enough. It is vital to incorporate balance training and resistance exercise into a routine, on most, if not all days of the week. An effective program is one that is structured, and delivered by an Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist, and is enjoyable!