• Patty Hopker

Ten Reasons to Exercise as We Age

Body movement as we age is just as important as eating healthy. Combine the two, and you have a power that gives your body the best chance to combat illness and may even help you live longer and more robust.


There are many physical activity types, including swimming, running, jogging, and dancing, to name just a few. The types of exercise we choose and how far we wish to advance our movement are individual decisions. Each body is different, and you should tailor your goals accordingly.


Before you begin to write out your movement goals and schedules, let’s do a quick review of our whys and write down our preferences there first. Why is exercise important to you individually?


Mood

By choosing to exercise, you may experience improved moods and decreased feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. Not only can it produce changes in the part of the brain that regulates positive emotions and pain reduction, but exercise can also increase hormones like serotonin and norepinephrine. These hormones relieve the feelings of depression.


Weight Loss

I think we can all agree that exercise is crucial to supporting faster metabolism and burning more calories per day. It helps maintain muscle mass and weight loss. Our bodies expend energy in 3 ways: digesting food, maintaining body functions like heartbeats and breathing, and exercising. While dieting, a reduced calorie intake will lower the metabolic rate making it more difficult to lose weight. By participating in regular exercise, your metabolic rates will increase. This movement will result in burning more calories and helping with weight loss.



Strong Muscles and Bones

Exercise helps release hormones that promote the muscle’s ability to absorb amino acids. As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass and function, leading to injury and disabilities. Physical activity, in general, helps build muscles and healthy bones and may also help prevent osteoporosis.


Increased Energy

One study found that six weeks of regular exercise reduced fatigue for healthy people who had this unexplained symptom. Movement can also significantly increase energy levels for people who have chronic fatigue syndrome and other serious illnesses, such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, and osteoarthritis.


Reduced Risk of Chronic Disease

Regular exercise has improved cardiovascular fitness and body composition yet decreases blood pressure. It also has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and blood fat levels. In contrast, lack of regular exercise can significantly increase belly fat, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.


Healthy Skin

Regular, moderate exercise can increase our body’s production of natural antioxidants, which help protect cells. Also, by stimulating your blood flow, aging skin is reduced.


Brain Health and Memory

Exercise increases heart rate, promoting blood and oxygen flow to our brains. It also stimulates the production of hormones that can enhance the growth of brain cells. Exercise may prevent chronic disease, which will benefit our minds.

Regular physical activity is essential as we age since aging, combined with inflammation, promotes brain structure and function changes.


Sleep

One study found that 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week can provide up to a 65% improvement in sleep quality. Another study showed that one week of physical activity increased sleep quality and helped people with insomnia sleep longer and more deeply than the control group, which also helped them feel more energized during the day.

As we age, we encounter more sleep disorders, which decline with an increase in physical activity.


Pain

It wasn’t too long ago that the recommendation for treating chronic pain was rest and inactivity. But today, it is known that exercise helps relieve chronic pain associated with various conditions and increases pain tolerances.


Social Benefits

There are multiple benefits socially to physical activity. Having a workout partner makes us stick to a fitness schedule. If we have accountability, our success chances drastically increase. We will almost inevitably find someone with the same interests in physical activities and a fitness level similar to ours.


So why do you want to exercise? Now would be an excellent time to have a long walk, find a park bench, and write out your reasons why you plan on beginning an exercise schedule. Take from your past what you have liked doing during your life, or perhaps there is another skill you’d like to learn.


Remember this: The most challenging part of exercising is deciding what to put into action.


Recent Posts

See All