Plato once said:
‘’Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it’’.
And this is never truer than as we get older.
The World Health Organisation suggest that older adults should participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise throughout the week, muscle strengthening exercise 2 days a week and mobility and motor skills training 3 days a week. Following these guidelines will help to improve cardiovascular and muscular fitness, functional health, bone density and reduce cognitive decline.
As you can see, there are many benefits that regular exercise can offer. In an effort to encourage you to start exercising, or continuing to do so, here are our top 5 benefits of exercise for older adults.
With risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood glucose levels, obesity and heart disease it is no wonder exercise is considered to be medicine for older adults (Taylor, 2013). In fact, exercise and physical activity is considered to be the most important intervention to improve health and wellbeing (Paterson et al., 2010).
Improved Mental Health
You may have heard the term ‘runners high’. Well that is the body releasing ‘feel-good’ hormones in response to exercise. This release of endorphins, which can act as stress relievers and leave us feeling happy, relaxed and satisfied, is one of the major benefits of regular exercise and physical activity. A daily dose of exercise can have a profound impact on a person’s mental wellbeing. We recommend finding something you enjoy that can fit into your weekly routine.
Decreased Risk of Falls
The World Health Organisation report that approximately 28-35% of older adults fall each year. To help prevent this from happening, it is recommended to start strengthening the lower limb musculature and to incorporate balance exercise into your weekly routine (Taylor, 2013). This can be done via a structured exercise routine that helps strengthen the muscles of the lower body and incorporates motor skill development to help improve balance and coordination.
Exercise doesn’t need to be mundane and dull. If the gym isn’t your cup of tea, join a walking group or head to a zumba class. Find something in your local community that appeals to you and get involved. Exercising with others is a great way to meet new people and have fun whilst moving your body.
Improved Cognitive Function
It is has been reported that regular exercise participation leads to improved memory and cognitive function (Fern, 2009), with moderate intensity exercise reducing cognitive decline and impairment (Taylor, 2013). On days that you really don’t feel like going to the gym or participating in an exercise class, get outside for some fresh air and take a walk amongst nature. We promise you will feel better for it.
Regardless of your age or fitness levels, we hope this encourages you to start (or continue) exercising. It is never too late.
If you have any questions, or need help or guidance with your exercise routine, contact us at the studio to speak to one of our experienced personal trainers.
Fern. A. K. (2009) ‘’Benefits of physical activity for older adults’’.
Paterson. D. and Warburton. D. (2009)‘’Physical activity and functional limitations in older adults’’.
Taylor. D. (2013) ‘’Physical activity is medicine for older adults’’.
World Health Organisation