Staying active throughout life is crucial to maintaining health and well-being for people of all ages—but even more so for senior adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, by age 75, about one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity.
Physical activity—so what are we talking about? A little more than that walk to the mailbox six days per week. We’re talking about movement, exercise, something physical that increases your heart rate and gets you breathing a little faster. Now, you might be saying to yourself:
“But I’m retired! Do you mean after all the years of working, running a household, raising children, and numerous weekends of endless sporting events for both children and grandchildren, that I can’t just sit in my Lazy Boy and watch T.V. all day?”
Well, you can, but the experts say that regular exercise and an active lifestyle for seniors—who take longer to heal and recover from injuries—offer health benefits beyond the obvious. These benefits range from preventing physical injuries to increasing mental health and include improvements in blood pressure, diabetes, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and neurocognitive function.
Here we’d like to present 5 benefits of staying active as you age—with input from the experts—for you to think about.
1. Overall QUALITY OF HEALTH is higher when seniors participate in exercise or physical activity.
Physical activity need not be strenuous to be effective. Try walking—the most common form of exercise for seniors. A moderate amount of walking, preferably daily, has great benefits. Walking at a regular stride in longer sessions, or shorter sessions of fast walking or stair-walking, are great options. Consult your health care provider or physical therapist first, then start walking—varying duration, intensity, and frequency for the greatest results.
2. Management of BODY WEIGHT AND STRENGTH is easier with regular exercise.
Metabolism naturally slows with age and regular exercise helps keep body weight under control by burning more calories and developing muscle mass. Bones and joints benefit, too. Exercise also helps control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis, and your bones respond by building more cells and increasing bone density. Increased bone and joint health help reduce the risk of falling and improves the ability to better perform the routine tasks of daily life.
3. Regular exercise promotes HEART AND CARDIOVASCULAR health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) names hypertension as one of the most prominent causes of premature death worldwide and reports that by 2025, an estimated 1.56 billion people will be living with it. If you have high blood pressure (above 130/80), you’re not alone. Just know that it is both preventable and treatable, and regular exercise and any type of consistent movement are medically proven to be one of the best ways to lower blood pressure. Most of the experts suggest just 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, five times a week to reduce blood pressure, lower stress, and decrease your risks of cardiovascular problems, colon cancer, and diabetes.
4. A more active lifestyle will foster HEALTHIER SLEEP PATTERNS.
Sedentary seniors tend to have more trouble getting quality rest. If you fit into this category, inject a little more activity into your daily routine and see if it helps. It’s been proven that adding regular aerobic exercise during the day can promote deeper sleep. Raising your core body temperature encourages rest when you start to cool down. A pre-bedtime workout is best. Even that walk after dinner will help. Try a little more activity and see if you don’t fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake up more refreshed.
5. An active lifestyle leads to a variety of MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS.
Exercise has been linked to improved cognitive function and the ability to fight off depression. Exercise works the muscles that generate mood-boosters causing them to activate and reduce stress. Recent studies show that maintaining activity levels may even help slow the progression of brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, as well as lower the risk of vascular dementia in seniors. A regular fitness routine can help seniors stay focused and allow them to lead a higher-quality life with more energy and better motor skills.
The social aspects of group fitness activities can also have a positive impact on seniors who have trouble maintaining an active social life. Some aging adults today are increasing their social wellness by making exercise a fun group outing within their neighborhood or community. Senior walking groups and fitness classes are popping up everywhere, helping keep senior adults young at heart and mentally sharp.
In conclusion, as mentioned above, walking appears to be the most common form of physical activity for today’s adults aged 65 years and older, per the CDC. Other regularly mentioned activities that have great benefits are gardening and yard work. The next time you visit The Carrington at Lincolnwood, be sure you ask how the community promotes a culture of boundless engagement, well-being, and active independence through a variety of services, amenities, activities, and events that support a new level of vibrant retirement living.
Here are just a few wellness-oriented benefits of living at The Carrington:
- Extra-spacious wellness gym with cardio and strength-training equipment and free weight, in addition to massage and full-service locker rooms for your cool-down.
- Indoor swimming pool for aqua therapy, exercise classes, and water aerobics.
- Programming designed to promote fitness, active living, and wellness for older adults.
- Wellness professionals and healthcare providers who routinely encourage residents to incorporate physical activity into their lives.
- Outdoor patios, courtyards, and walking paths that encourage activity and opportunities for social gathering.
- Transportation to local attractions, parks, and shopping centers that promote opportunities for active socialization.
The residents of The Carrington at Lincolnwood truly value the community’s approach to ACTIVE senior living. We’d like to introduce you to them and show you around. Call us today at (847) 744-9469 or complete our online form to schedule a personal tour.