Why is it Important to Exercise as We Age?

We all hope to grow old gracefully. Who wants to think about taking medications, going to the doctors or the aches and pains that may come along with getting old?  There are things we can do to fight the aging process. One of those things is exercise! “Get out and move it, move it!”

There are many benefits to exercise for all ages. Let’s face it, no one is getting any younger. Being active and healthy can improve your overall health. Exercise improves your physical and mental health. There are significant benefits and improvements in health and well-being for seniors.  So, what are they?

  • Exercise can help to improve health conditions or complications of the disease. Research shows lower risks of chronic diseases like heart disease in patients who regularly participate in some type of exercise. Regular physical cardiac exercise strengthens the heart muscle and improves circulation. Regular participation in a workout program can help manage blood sugars and control insulin levels in diabetic patients.
  • Low impact aerobics for seniors can help with balance, flexibility, and strength. This is very important to help decrease falls, maintain flexibility and muscle tone.
  • Exercise is not only good for physical health; it is important for mental health. Exercise can help seniors who suffer from depression and anxiety. Although the research is not fully clear about exercise and mental well-being, what we do know is, physical activity does ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety. A regular workout does release endorphins which can enhance a sense of feeling good.
  • Seniors can decrease the loss of bone density by participating in regular exercise. Yet another benefit – muscle strengthening exercises will help with strength and flexibility which is important to independence and helping to decrease falls.
  • These physical activities will also help with weight control. Controlling weight with working out and diet are essential to a healthy you.
  • Exercise stimulates the body to release chemicals to improve the structure and function of your brain. As we age, we continue to strive to be “as sharp as a tack”. Exercise can help us continue to think, learn and may help to maintain cognition. It is worth the workout to the body and the brain!
  • Working out promotes sleep. A workout at the right time of the day can help you to get some Z’s. Work this into a schedule that works for you.
  • Research shows increasing your physical activity can increase your lifespan.

We must realize not all of us will be lucky enough to experience these values of exercise. However, hopefully, we will be able to experience most of these wonderful benefits.

There are several different types of exercise programs you can explore to see which program would be best for you. Once you find a program that fits your needs, you will start to feel and see the benefits.

If you need assistance finding a program or have questions about exercise. Contact Nicole Lipinski, RN Jewish Home, Aging Care Partners, via email nlipinski@jhep.org or call 570-344-6177 ext. 1113.