Whether you’re an avid exerciser or have rarely hit the gym over the years, regular exercise is more important than ever as you age. Why? Because you can reap more benefits than ever before.
Regular exercise can help boost energy, ward off illness and help you maintain your independence. And not only is it good for your body, it’s also good for your mind, mood, and memory.
A recent Swedish study found that exercise was the No. 1 contributor to longevity, adding extra years to your life. This is even true for those who don’t start exercising until their senior years.
Physical Benefits of Exercise As You Age
- Exercise reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease. Exercise for adults over age 50 includes improved immune function, better heart health and blood pressure, better bone density, and better digestive functioning. Also, your risk are lowered for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
- Exercise enhances balance and flexibility. By strengthening your muscles, you gain better balance and flexibility. WebMD points out that increasing exercise can help prevent injuries. By practicing exercises such as yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates, your strength and balance increases, reducing your chances of falling or injuring yourself in another way.
- Exercise is good for the heart. Repeated cardio exercise, whether bicycling, climbing stairs or walking, gets your heart pumping and promotes a stronger, healthier heart.
Benefits of Exercise – Beyond Physical – as You Age
- Exercise can be an effective antidepressant. As you exercise, your body releases endorphins into your brain that promote positive feelings. An increase in physical activity can help you better cope with stress and anxiety and can even help improve your self-confidence.
- Exercise provides opportunities to build your social network. Attending exercise classes, starting a walking club, or taking weekly dance lessons, are great ways to meet new people and build friendships while staying in shape.
- Exercise improves your sleep. Quality sleep is important for your overall health. Exercising often improves sleep, helping you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.
The best thing that you can do for yourself as you age is to exercise. By keeping your body active, it will serve you well – body and mind. It will help you bounce back quicker from illnesses, improve your memory, and even build friendships. With all of these benefits, what are you waiting for?