The Benefits of Staying Active
In 2010, after completing a rigorous application and site review process by Meals On Wheels America, we were awarded “Exemplary Status” Magnet Accreditation for our outstanding senior nutrition program.
No matter your age, staying active can be a hard task. Either your agenda is packed with activities, you’re feeling fatigued or maybe the weather is just putting a damper on your mood. However, the great thing about being active is that it can keep you feeling energized for the entire day. Just remember, that while the benefits of physical activity are significant, you should always have your physician’s approval before beginning any exercise program. Here are some of the benefits that NIH Senior Health says result from staying active:
- Long-Term Health Benefits
Most people already know physical activity is a great thing. Making physical activity and exercise a daily pursuit can actually provide older adults with a longer and healthier life. Staying active can also help you keep your independence for much longer.
- Manage Stress, Improve Your Mood
Exercising regularly can even improve your stress level, and who wouldn’t want that? If you keep it part of your daily routine, it will not disappoint you! Doing so, it can reduce depression and make switching from task to task easier, and make planning events with family or friends a piece of cake.
- Prevent or Delay Diseases and Illnesses
For many chronic illnesses, diseases, and disabilities, scientists have found that exercising can be a helpful type of treatment. “For example, studies show that people with arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes benefit from regular exercise. Exercise also helps people with high blood pressure, balance problems, or difficulty walking” (NIH Senior Health).
Better Health Channel goes on to share the actual benefits that staying active can do for parts of your body:
The muscle fibers seem to decrease in quantity and size as humans age. Studies show that from each decade after hitting middle age, a person starts to lose 3kg every 10 years. To help this, muscle mass can improve when an older adults starts exercising. Improvements to the body can be seen just after only a few days of activity.
Bone density starts to become lost after the age of 40, making fractures much more common for older adults. Exercise can help to decrease the possibility of bone loss and osteoporosis. In particular, weight-bearing exercises can help strengthen bones.
- Heart and Lungs
“Studies show that cardiorespiratory fitness takes longer to achieve in an older person than a young person, but the physical benefits are similar” (Better Health). Taking age out of the equation, people are able to strengthen their heart and lungs through exercising regularly.
Our joints need consistent movement to be functioning correctly. People with arthritis can especially benefit from daily physical activity. Swimming is an example of an exercise to try for joint pains.
- Body Fat Levels
If a person carries too much body fat, they are at risk for all kinds of diseases. Daily exercising can burn calories, expand muscle mass, and speed up your metabolism. Exercise can help get a person to the right weight for their height and body type.
How can I become more active? Once you have your doctor’s approval, there are many ways to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine. Simply parking at the back of the store parking lot, or taking the steps instead of the elevator will force you to take more steps each day. A walk around the block, or an extra loop with your dog are other ways to move more. Your health care providers and health insurance can also direct you to organized exercise programs offered in your area.