Seniors who regularly exercise tend to lead to healthier, more fulfilling lives. This is why it is important to encourage them to stay active their whole lives! From AARP:
The latest evidence is showing that exercise not only strengthens your heart and may trim your waist, but regular physical activity can actually slow the aging process on a cellular level and potentially add years to your life.
Consider this: While federal guidelines now recommend at least 2½ hours every week of moderate intensity exercise (or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise), Harvard University researchers recently noted that as little as 15 minutes of physical activity a day can boost your life span by three years.
What’s more, a remarkable 2018 JAMA Network Open study found that not exercising increases your risk of premature death more than cardiovascular disease, and even smoking.
It’s never too late in life to start exercising! The physical activity does not need to be strenuous to achieve health benefits. You don’t have to take up running or downhill skiing. Just taking a 15-minute walk every day can impact your life and health in enormous ways. For seniors, it can mean the difference between independent living and relying on others to provide care.
Exercise for seniors is essential for good health. Physical activity:
★ Helps maintain the ability to live independently and reduces the risk of falling and fracturing bones.
★ Reduces the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and of developing high blood pressure, and colon cancer.
★ Can help reduce blood pressure in some people with hypertension.
★ Helps people with chronic, disabling conditions improve their stamina and muscle strength.
★ Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression and fosters improvements in mood and feelings of well-being.
★ Helps maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.
★ Helps control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis.
You can be the biggest encouragement for your senior to start and keep with a healthy exercise routine:
★ Social support from family and friends has been consistently and positively related to regular physical activity, so find ways for your parents to be active, whether that’s walking, playing golf, doing yard work or gardening.
★Provide transportation to parks or facilities that provide physical activity programs, and ask your parents’ health care providers to talk routinely to them about incorporating physical activity into their lives.
If your parents find it hard to make themselves be active, it helps to choose activities that are fun and interesting. The “best” exercise or physical activity is the type they will actually do, and the only goal needs to be that they get moving.
For example, working outside in the garden involves bending and lifting, moving and stretching, and digging and hauling. When they’re lifting a bag of mulch, transplanting seedlings, raking leaves or pulling weeds, they’re also improving their endurance, strength, balance and flexibility.
For simple balance exercise for seniors, visit https://bluestarseniortech.com/health-library/easy-balance-exercises-for-seniors/
However, please keep in mind that before beginning a new physical activity program, older adults should consult with a physician:
When you start to participate in a moderate or intense activity, there is a slightly increased risk of a heart attack or cardiac complications.
-From Penn Medicine