Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise benefits people of all ages, including those 65-and-over. Sadly, millions of aging in place elderly Americans don’t exercise like they should, which eventually harms their health and wellbeing. On the other hand, seniors who follow a good exercise routine typically enjoy longer, healthier, and happier lives. If you are presently looking after an aging-in-place senior loved one, here are some specific reasons why encouraging them to have a good exercise routine is so important.
How Regular Exercise Benefits Seniors
The aging process can be hard on our bodies, whether it’s a lack of energy, poor balance, and coordination, or the onset of arthritis. And although there’s no proven way to completely stop the effects of aging from occurring, exercising regularly can certainly make them much more tolerable. With that said, here are several ways that a good exercise routine benefits seniors:
Helps Prevent Falls
One-in-three at-home seniors experience a serious fall every year, and oftentimes poor balance and coordination are contributing factors. Most low-impact forms of exercise improve an older person’s balance and coordination, thereby reducing their likelihood to fall.
Sharpens Mental Acuity
One of the biggest fears for seniors is being diagnosed with dementia, and studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle is an important risk factor for developing cognitive impairment. On the other hand, researchers have found that regular exercise helps sharpen a senior’s mental acuity and concentration, both of which help protect them against dementia.
Increases Bone Strength
Elderly people commonly get osteoporosis and broken bones. However, weight-bearing exercises like walking or Yoga help increase bone strength which reduces the likelihood of developing osteoporosis and experiencing a bone fracture.
Lowers Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Exercise raises a participant’s heart rate, which helps protect them from cardiovascular disease. Studies have also found that following a good exercise routine also helps normalize a senior’s blood pressure and blood sugar, which also lowers their risk of having a stroke.
Many seniors feel stressed out, and exercise stimulates the release of “feel good” hormones known as endorphins that act as natural stress relievers. In addition to feeling happier and more satisfied, endorphins also help a senior get a better night’s sleep.
As our bodies age, joint flexibility diminishes. That can make even the most simple activities, like driving a car or getting dressed, very unpleasant at times. Stretching and working out regularly improves flexibility and helps promote a more active lifestyle.
The older a person gets, the harder it is for their body to fight off illnesses like the flu or a UTI. But participating in regular exercise has been shown to boost a senior’s immune system, which helps protect their bodies against pesky microbes.
Promotes Social Interaction
Joining a local senior-focused fitness center is a great way to make new friends and ward off feelings of loneliness and depression that can result from social isolation.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), leading a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main causes of death and disability. On the other hand, the WHO points out that exercising regularly can increase a person’s lifespan by up to 5 years.
Healthy Exercises for Older Adults
High-impact forms of exercise like powerlifting or running are generally not recommended for older adults. But there are several fun, lower-impact ways for them to get regular exercise, such as:
- Water or chair aerobics
- Yoga or Tai Chi
- Certain forms of dancing
- Bouncing on an exercise ball or mini trampoline
- Working out with resistance bands, or hand and ankle weights
Our In-Home Caregivers Love Helping Seniors Exercise
Ensuring that an aging-in-place senior loved one gets enough exercise can be hard when you’re busy or live far away. When you need a hand, call WellSprings Home Care. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency, our highly trained caregivers love helping seniors exercise so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. While serving as an extended family in your loved one’s home, our carefully screened aides can also perform duties including light housework, personal hygiene, meals, medication reminders, and transportation.
And, all our reliable in-home amenities can be personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them! To learn why WellSprings Home Care is quickly becoming the preferred home care choice for West Chester and Malvern area families, or to schedule a FREE, in-home care assessment for a senior today, please visit us at: wellspringshomecare.com.