Regular exercise is important throughout the course of our lifetimes, and yet as we age, many of us gradually become less active and this lack of exercise has a knock on effect on our physical health and wellbeing.
It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle for as long as possible, rather than becoming inactive in our golden years because the moment you stop using it, you lose it!
Why Is It So Important For Elderly People To Remain Active?
Elderly people who remain active and physically fit benefit from a reduced risk of conditions like heart disease, strokes and some forms of cancer. Stronger muscles, joints and bones also help to increase mobility and independence.
Other benefits include the fact that those who are more active are far less prone to suffering with depression and loneliness. Psychological wellbeing is crucial, and elderly adults are far less likely to suffer with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease when they remain active and engaged throughout the course of their lives.
What Are The Barriers That Prevent So Many Elderly People From Participating In Exercise?
Embarrassment and intimidation can prevent many elderly people from joining local groups and clubs and participating in sports and other physical activities in general. This is particularly common for older adults who feel out of shape and unfit, as they are more likely to feel anxious about physical exertion, especially in front of strangers.
After a long period of inactivity, it can also be hard to find the motivation and energy to get moving again.
What Are The Options?
The options are really only limited by your imagination, and what is more, there is no need to pick just one! There is absolutely no reason to restrict yourself by adopting just one sport or activity to participate in, in fact the more the merrier!
Approaching the way you exercise in the same way that you approach the types of films and programs you enjoy or your broad range of musical interests is a great approach that enables you to select your favourite activities from a broad range of options. This broad-minded approach opens the door to greater social opportunities, more variety and more fun!
There are numerous classes tailored to suit an older audience of participants and the options that are available to you will largely depend on the area you live in making enquiries at your local health centre is a good place to start. Essentially however, the best forms of exercise are the ones that you love, so if exercise always feels like a punishment to you, you have simply not found the right fit for you yet!
The options are plentiful. Here are a few examples:
- Chi Walking
- Water Aerobics
There are of course many, many more. Keep in mind that a ten-minute stroll to collect your newspaper or visit a friend, all counts towards your daily exercise. The fact that you are moving is the important thing!
Counter The Natural Effects Of Aging With Moderate Aerobic Exercise
Research published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet last year drew comparisons between smoking and a sedentary lifestyle, with figures demonstrating that an inactive lifestyle is the root cause of the same quantity of deaths worldwide as smoking.
The bottom line is that we shun regular exercise at our own peril and the only way to combat the shocking statistics is to move more and sit less, gradually building more physical activity into our daily lives.
As an elderly adult, a good guide would be to aim to incorporate the recommended minimum of 20 minutes moderate aerobic activity into each day, in order to counter the natural effects of aging with exercise and feel the benefits.
Those with limited mobility or existing health issues ought to discuss any plans to increase their activity with a health professional in order to obtain individual advice and support.