Of course, we all know that exercise is good for us but many of us tend to think that it’s for the younger generations only and that once we reach a certain age we should hang up our running shoes and take it easy.
This couldn’t be further from the truth because not only is exercise safe for older people, it’s also incredibly beneficial. Sadly, however, only 25% of people in the 65-74 age group exercise regularly enough to get these benefits, which include improved balance and mobility, better moods and cognitive function and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
It seems that some of the common ailments associated with aging are due to inactivity rather than age, so whether you opt for a programme of stretches in front of the telly or a bracing swim every morning, you should get – and keep – moving.
You’ll live longer
Even the World Health Organization agrees that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest causes of premature death and disability. Adding exercise to your life can increase your lifespan by at least three years.
You won’t fall so much
We all dread the news that an elderly relative has “…had a fall…”. Falls become more common as we age because if we’re inactive we lose our sense of balance and our strength, Furthermore, inactivity leads to lower bone density, so those falls can mean hip fractures. One in two women and one in five men will suffer a broken bone due to osteoporosis.
You’ll reduce your risk of strokes and heart attacks
Regular cardiovascular exercise – cycling, medium-pace walking and even housework – increases the heart rate and gets the blood flowing.
You’ll reduce your dementia risk
A sedentary old age increases the risk of dementia, according to a five-year study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study found that out of 1,600 older adults, those who were more sedentary were more likely to develop AD. Regular exercisers were also more physically and mentally confident.
You can prevent or delay ailments
The illnesses we used to expect – heart disease, high cholesterol, arthritis, diabetes and memory loss – can all be staved off or prevented altogether with regular exercise.
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