Regular Exercise for Older Adults is an Active Choice - St Augustine Health Ministries

June 4, 2021

Regular Exercise for Older Adults is an Active Choice

You can come up with a million reasons for not being physically active. Some might even be valid. But know this: stillness is bad. Roughly 3.2 million people die each year because of physical inactivity. Regular exercise for older adults is critical to good health.

I’m Just Too Old

Regular exercise is good for just about everyone, including older adults. Even moderate amounts of physical activity can have a big impact. Talk with your doctor first, of course. If you’ve been inactive, take it easy as you get started, say, 5-10 minutes of moderate activity each day.

I Don’t Think My Heart Can Take It

The more you do to stay active as you age, the lower your chances are for things like heart attack and stroke. Your doctor can tell you what type of exercises are best, and for how long you should do them. You’ll probably shoot for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, like a brisk walk or an easy bike ride. Mowing the lawn or a heavy cleaning session counts, too. And you don’t have to do them in 30-minute chunks.

I Don’t Move Like I Used To

Regular exercise for older adults promotes flexibility, endurance, strength and balance.  That stiffness can be alleviated with, for example, stretching exercises that target hips, legs, shoulders, your neck, your back … anywhere. Yoga can help, too. Take it easy, though, and don’t stretch so far that it hurts.

I Don’t Like Exercise

Being physically active doesn’t necessarily mean pushing around big weights at the gym or going for a 10-mile run. Do things that you enjoy and that will keep you at it. You could work in the yard, walk with friends, work in the garden (lifting and bending are great for flexibility and strength), or take a bike ride. Mix things up every so often, too, so you don’t get bored.

My Heart’s Fine

It’s not just about your heart. Regular exercise for older adults is good for lungs, muscles, and your entire circulatory system. It’s about benefits that can include lower blood pressure, better bone and joint health, and less chance of things like colon cancer and diabetes.

I Don’t Want to Fall

Falling can be a problem for older adults. But with regular physical activity, including exercises that promote proper balance — exercises that you can do almost anytime, anywhere — you can help prevent the falls that hurt so many older adults. Your doctor can point you in the right direction.

I Worry More About My Brain

Regular exercise for older adults is good for your brain. Experts say not only can exercise help you stave off mental health issues like depression and anxiety, it can also help you stay on task and be better able to move from one to-do item to the next. Healthy body, healthy mind.

                                                    – Information courtesy of WebMD

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