Everybody knows that regular exercise is an essential part of one’s wellbeing, but many people still have an image of seniors – even mentally astute seniors who are more than capable of carrying on conversation or reading books – sitting in their chairs all day and not moving. While it’s true that as someone ages, the exercise they partake in will not be at the same level of intensity as a younger person, it is still absolutely vital for seniors to keep active in one form or another. The benefits are countless, but here are a few of the most important ones.
Naturally, remaining active into one’s golden years will do wonders for their physical health. Simple but daily exercise, for those who can, can reduce the risk of heart failure, help to maintain healthy joints and bones, and significantly reduce the danger of falling (and the accompanying damage to hips and knees), an all too common occurrence in seniors who are unused to moving about on their own.
This is less talked about than the physical side of things, but exercise can vastly improve one’s mental health as well. Regular exercise has been linked to significantly reducing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as helping greatly with feelings of anxiety and depression, something a sedentary lifestyle encourages. Keeping active can help foster a positive sense of wellbeing and an optimistic outlook that sitting in a chair all day can simply never match.
Seniors, especially those who live alone and who are finding themselves unable to do some of the more demanding hobbies they enjoyed in their youth, may struggle to fill their days with meaningful activities. Exercise is not only an activity in itself – it also helps to keep the mind sharp so the exerciser can focus much more easily on activities such as reading or doing crosswords. Depending on your location, a good walk in a nice, green part of town can be a very stimulating and positive experience.
Working Up an Appetite
It is not uncommon for children of seniors to see their parents lose weightas they get older, as the appetite is simply not there the way that it used to be. Regular exercise will lead to more regular eating habits, and a desire to eat more, which will in turn lead to better consistency in physical and mental health.
So now that you know how important regular exercise is for seniors, what are some good methods of keeping active that you can encourage your loved ones to partake in? Simply going for regular walks is the easiest and most popular way to keep the blood flowing. If applicable, yard work and gardening are also very popular. Certain low intensity sports and games (such as shuffleboard) may also be an option. Anything that keeps the body moving will have huge effects on keeping seniors at their healthiest for a long time.