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10 benefits of exercise for older adults

Fonthill House, St Albans, Hertfordshire

Exercise is vital to everyone’s health and wellbeing, with plenty of extra benefits for those that are older. In fact, it’s one of the key ways to help the elderly to maintain their own independence. Here are just a few of the major benefits of exercise for older people:

1. Increases overall happiness and well-being

Regular exercise is one of the cornerstones of good mental health, boosting your mood and general wellbeing. Have you ever heard of runners high? This is thanks to exercise and the release of endorphins – and no, you don’t have to run, this can be achieved through all exercise! The feeling of accomplishment you get after exercise is wonderful for older adults, who’ll feel the benefits of progress.

2. Reduces the risk of developing diseases

Exercise has been proven to help reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and type II diabetes. As we grow older, we’re more at risk of these diseases, which is why exercise is so important. If you already have any of these diseases, exercise can help to manage the symptoms.

3. Encourages social engagement

For many elderly people in 24 hour care or living alone, a lack of social engagement can be detrimental to their mental health and overall mood. So, whether walking with a group of friends or attending a class, it’s a wonderful way to meet others, have fun and improve your wellness together.

4. Reduces risk of falls

One of the most common accidents and injuries among the elderly is falling. Due to low bone density and strength, these falls can do a lot more damage than they would to a younger person. Having an active lifestyle due to exercise can increase your strength which will help to prevent falls. And, if you do fall, you’re less likely to sustain any serious injuries thanks to exercise.

5. It’s fun!

Sometimes we don’t need more of an excuse to do something other than: it’s fun! Regarding exercise as a chore can make us reluctant to do it, especially if we’ve been inactive for a long time. Whereas viewing exercise activities and classes as something fun will increase your commitment to working out. Also, as you get stronger and healthier, it’ll be much more enjoyable and a fun activity with friends.

6. Exercise helps to manage body weight

As our metabolism begins to slow with age, it gets much easier to gain weight, even if you’re eating the same amount and type of food. Exercise is a great way to maintain a healthy body weight, reducing the risk of diseases due to being overweight, and improving overall mobility.

7. Improves cognitive function

Keeping your mind sharp as an older person is essential to a healthy brain. Some studies have even found exercise to help minimise the risk of Dementia. Research has found exercise to reduce brain inflammation, improve blood flow and promote new brain cell growth. It’s like you’re taking your brain out for a workout too!

8. Improves physical strength

Without regular exercise, muscles can waste away and become weak. Exercise can also improve your bone health, which is essential in older people as it can prevent falls and other accidents. This is why exercise is popular when rehabilitating older people after an accident or illness as it helps to regain that physical strength, enabling you to keep your independence and enjoy daily life.

9. Maintains regular hobbies

Hobbies are essential to both our physical and mental health. By participating in regular exercise, older adults will be able to continue with the other various hobbies they enjoy, whether it’s exploring the shops or participating in a crafting class. By having a healthy, strong body, these hobbies can continue for many years.

10. Improves sleep

Those who live more sedentary lifestyles tend to struggle to fall asleep or benefit from high-quality rest. Regular exercise during the day improves your overall sleep as it raises your core body temperature and encourages rest when you start to cool down. Therefore, people who exercise regularly fall asleep faster, achieve higher quality sleep and for longer. 

Exercise is an important part of anyone’s routine. But with older people being more vulnerable to certain diseases and accidents, regular exercise is more important than ever. It helps older adults to maintain their independence for longer and continue to do the things that they enjoy.

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