Senior Fitness: Staying Active as You Age
It’s never too late to start engaging in a regular workout routine. The key is to find something you enjoy and start at a level that you can not only maintain, but can increase in intensity as you become stronger.
It’s true that as we age, muscle mass begins to decrease. In fact, beginning in our forties, we can lose 3-5 percent of our total muscle mass with each subsequent decade. As we lose muscle, we lose our balance and bone strength, too. This means that becoming weaker as we age by losing muscle mass can compromise our independence and make it more difficult to complete everyday tasks.
The Importance of Exercise for Seniors
As you begin adding more physical activity into your daily routine, you’ll start to notice you feel more energetic, your mood has improved and some of those chronic aches and pains aren’t as bad as they used to be. Starting an exercise program can be as simple as parking at the far end of the parking lot or choosing the stairs instead of the elevator. You should be getting your heart rate up for thirty minutes a day, and you can even break those thirty minutes into ten-minute increments.
Some key benefits of exercise for seniors include:
Improve Balance and Stability
Falls are the number one cause of injury among seniors, and regular exercise can help you avoid them. Exercise is a key component in improving your functional reach and balance.
Increase Strength and Flexibility
Better flexibility means less muscle stiffness and soreness, and increased strength helps prevent loss of bone and muscle mass. When your muscles are strong, loose and supple, you’ll be less prone to injury and will have a better overall range of motion.
Enhance Healing and Function
When your body is strong and healthy, it can better fight off infection and more easily recover from an illness or injury. In fact, regular exercise may decrease the time for a wound to heal by up to 25 percent!
Prevent Chronic Conditions and Diseases
The National Institute on Aging reports that a major benefit of exercise for seniors is the fact that physical activity can help delay or even prevent some chronic age-related conditions like diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke and more.
Boost Memory and Brain Health
Experts have said regular exercise may be one of the most cost-effective and beneficial ways seniors can boost their memory and brain health. Because exercise increases your heart rate, more oxygen gets pumped to the brain and can aid in releasing a variety of hormones that promote the growth of new brain cells.
Age Well at Concordia
At Concordia, we believe in healthy aging for the spirit, mind and body. We offer a variety of ways for residents to be physically active, whether it’s a senior yoga class, stretching, aerobics or weight classes. No matter what you enjoy, you’ll find an option to help you stay healthy and fit.