Exercise and Seniors: Improving Strength, Balance and Quality of Life

A common misconception about exercise among seniors is that there’s simply no point in adding physical activity to your daily routine at this point in your life. After all, you can’t turn back time, and you might feel somewhat frustrated that your athleticism will never be what it once was. In fact, living a sedentary lifestyle actually takes a much greater toll on your abilities than just biological aging.

The Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

It’s never too late to start exercising. No matter what your current physical condition is, incorporating exercise into your daily routine can improve your overall quality of life. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the benefits exercise offers to older adults in particular:

Physical Health Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

  • Helps manage chronic conditions. Exercise is key in managing and reducing pain from conditions like arthritis, as it helps lubricate the joints while decreasing stiffness. Additionally, exercise can help reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke and can boost your immune system to keep you from getting sick.
  • Keeps you at a healthy weight. Your metabolism naturally slows down as you age, making it easier to put on some extra pounds. Exercise, however, helps increase your metabolism while burning calories and building muscle mass to keep you lean and trim.
  • Improves strength and mobility. As you’re building muscle mass, your strength and mobility also improve. This means daily tasks like climbing stairs, carrying groceries and bending down to get laundry out of the dryer become easier.
  • Decreases the risk for a fall. Falls are the number one cause of injury in adults age 65 and older. Exercise, especially exercise designed to improve your balance, helps keep you steady on your feet and decrease your chances for a debilitating fall.

Mental Health Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

  • Enhances memory and cognition. Recent studies have shown that exercise can have a positive impact on your brain. When you exercise, blood flow and oxygen to the brain increases, allowing important chemicals and hormones to protect the brain from some of the natural reductions in brain connections that come with aging. It also creates an ideal environment for new cell growth.
  • Boosts your mood naturally. Exercise is a natural mood-booster and stress reliever because of the endorphins produced when your heart rate goes up. People who exercise usually report less feelings of depression and anxiety, and they feel more confident going about their daily lives, too.
  • Improves sleeping habits. When you’re more active throughout the day, it stands to reason you’ll be able to enjoy more restful sleep every night. In fact, older adults who suffer from insomnia report that exercising is key to allowing them to feel more tired in the evenings and sleeping soundly through the night. However, limit strenuous exercise to earlier in the day, or to at least two hours before your normal bedtime.

A Focus on Healthy Aging at Springpoint Senior Living Communities

It’s never too late to incorporate exercise into your daily routine and enjoy all the benefits mentioned above! At our Springpoint Senior Living continuing care retirement communities in New Jersey and Delaware, residents participate in a variety of physical activities regularly to allow them to continue living their best lives. Our innovative LivWell program keeps your goals and interests in mind, offering customized programming that will best meet your needs. From swimming or water aerobics in on-site, heated pools, dance and chair yoga classes to invigorating walks on the walking paths, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing.

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