At any age, the importance of staying active can be easily overlooked – but physical activity is vital for seniors as they deal with the physical changes and challenges of aging. Regular physical activity can combat these challenges, as well as provide long-lasting health benefits for the individual. It is the proactive way to stay on top of your health, and to enhance your quality of life.
The decrease or loss of strength and stamina in seniors is a natural part of the aging process, but is significantly affected by the lack of physical activity. According to the CDC, statistically inactivity increases with age; by the age of 75, one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity. This is a problem that can be, and must be, addressed in order to cultivate healthy lifestyles for the seniors in our communities.
It is important to understand the benefits of being physically active, as well as the risks that are involved with inactivity. Benefits do not only come for strenuous activity, but also from daily moderate activity that positively influences health in more ways than one.
The CDC has provided a list of some of the main benefits of physical activity, they include:
- Helps maintain the ability to live independently.
- Reduces the risk of falling and fracturing bones.
- Reduces the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and of developing high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes.
- Can help reduce blood pressure in some people with hypertension.
- Helps people with chronic, disabling conditions improve their stamina and muscle strength.
- Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression and fosters improvements in mood and feelings of well-being.
- Helps maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
- Helps control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis.
These benefits can come from a variety of activities such as: walking, fast-walking, water exercises, gardening, appropriate strength training classes, etc. As a community we can help support seniors in their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, by providing facilities, classes, encouragement, and more opportunities for them to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine.
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