No time to weight: The benefits of exercise for older adults
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In case you need any more convincing, we’ve compiled some of the key benefits of exercise for older adults.
1. The physical benefits are endless
Everyone knows exercise is good for you, but the benefits of exercise for over 50s are vast.
Decreasing bone density is common in older adults but more severe complications, such as osteoporosis, can be delayed and even avoided with the right exercises. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking and badminton, are great ways to strengthen joints and ligaments. Resistance exercises using the weights area of the gym can also improve bone density.
People often forget the heart is a muscle and therefore benefits just as much from aerobic exercise - such as swimming or walking - as any other muscle. The British Heart Foundation has also found exercise helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in older adults by 35% by keeping cholesterol and blood pressure lower.
2. It helps keep you steady
As people get older, their muscles can sometimes become weaker, increasing the likelihood of falls. For individuals with lower muscle mass, their risk of such outcomes is up to four times greater than those who have maintained their strength.
This is where strength training comes in. It has numerous proven benefits for older people, such as increasing power and reducing fall risk.
Active programmes aimed at older people give you the opportunity to take part in a series of activities specially curated for people over the age of 50. Starting with an introduction to easy weight training exercises to ease your way in, the programme gradually increases your ability, supporting with building muscle mass.
Balance exercises for seniors, such as a senior yoga class, are also key to minimising fall risk, helping to maintain coordination and agility.
3. Do what you love
Many people are under the impression that once they hit their golden years, there’s nothing but chair exercises for seniors to do, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you have a hobby you used to love, be it running, dancing, tennis or weightlifting, there’s no reason age should prevent you from continuing to pursue it.
Going to the gym is a great way to safely continue these hobbies, helping maintain both physical and psychological health.
4. Make new friends
Whether it’s a quick chat at the water fountain, a group training session or a post-workout coffee, the gym is an excellent place to have a conversation and meet new friends.
Not only can the gym help nurture relationships, but joining activities and classes designed for over 50s and surrounding yourself with like-minded people is a great source of motivation. Being able to share goals, tips and support with others is a great way to build your confidence and abilities when exercising.
With a group around you, you might even notice you’re pushing yourself more – running faster or lifting heavier – thanks to your newfound support network. A little healthy competition can really boost your results.
5. Strong body, strong mind
The physical benefits of exercise are well known, but the psychological benefits can be just as important.
The cognitive benefits of exercises for older people are numerous, such as helping reduce anxiety and depression by keeping you active and within social settings.
Exercise can also help battle Alzheimer’s disease, with studies showing that it can play a role in improving reasoning and judgement in milder cases.
Getting a good night’s sleep is also key to keeping healthy and regular exercise is known to help regulate sleep patterns by reducing sleep onset, helping you get to sleep quicker and for longer.
Feeling great never gets old
Develop a strong body, sharp mind and the energy to keep doing what you love.
David Morris Content Contributor, Warwick Sport
David is an avid runner and writes about different aspects of fitness, health and wellbeing. He enjoys running, fitness classes and outdoor activities with his daughters.
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