While most people are well aware of the risks surrounding living a sedentary lifestyle, it’s not uncommon for seniors to believe that adding physical activities into their weekly schedules just isn’t possible.
In fact one recent study suggests that approximately 67 percent of people aged 65 or older are inactive for over eight hours each day. As we age, we tend to lose bone density, muscle mass and flexibility, and conditions like arthritis or other joint problems can make it painful to simply get up out of a chair, let alone to start lifting weights or participating in aerobic exercise.
However, long periods of inactivity only further weaken muscles and bones. It’s imperative that older adults incorporate exercise into their routine to improve their overall quality of life.
Fitness for Seniors Equals Healthier Aging
Exercise for seniors doesn’t have to feel like a chore, and once you find a fitness program that’s right for you, you’ll start experiencing the benefits right away! The top five reasons to join senior fitness program include:
- Help manage chronic conditions. Contrary to what you might think, exercise is crucial for managing and reducing pain from conditions like arthritis, as regular movement helps lubricate the joints and decrease stiffness. Plus, exercising can help reduce the risk for heart disease, cognitive impairment, diabetes and stroke.
- Prevent falls. 1 out of 3 adults age 65 or older suffer a debilitating fall each year; in fact, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors. Adding exercise, especially balance exercises, can help older adults remain steady on their feet and lead to a higher level of independence.
- Decrease the need for some medications. It’s common for seniors to take a wide variety of medications every day, whether for managing the chronic conditions mentioned above or for issues like depression and anxiety. A combination of aerobic activity, strength training and flexibility exercises can reduce the need for some medications. For instance, when you’re physically active, endorphins can increase and improve your mood, lessening the need for medications to reduce symptoms of depression. Plus, exercise can help reduce systolic blood pressure and decrease your need for blood pressure medication.
- Enjoy better sleep. When you’re more active throughout the day, you tend to be more tired in the evening. Seniors who suffer from insomnia find that exercise helps exhaust them enough to enjoy restful sleep throughout the night. Just make sure to avoid strenuous activity two hours before bedtime.
- There’s something for everyone. No matter what your current fitness levels are, you can find senior fitness programs and exercises that will meet your individual needs. For instance, swimming is a great low impact exercise for seniors that works every muscle group in the body but is easy on the joints. Chair exercises are ideal for seniors with mobility issues and can build muscle tone and increase blood circulation. The key is to find something you enjoy doing so you can start experiencing the benefits of exercise right away.
At American Senior Communities, our New Energy Wellness program is designed specifically for seniors to build endurance, balance and improve overall quality of life. You will have access to an array of workout equipment and a Health Promotion Coordinator who will work with you and your physician to create a customized exercise regimen that helps you meet your specific goals.
For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.