Feeling less energized? Wish you felt more like you did in your younger years? Certain lifestyle changes, like exercising regularly, may help you feel younger. Even if you’ve been lax about exercise recently, the benefits of starting again are significant.
The benefits of exercise are numerous and include reducing the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. For older adults, the impact of regular exercise is even more impressive. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology examined how exercise affected adults over the age of 70. Data showed that the heart, lungs, and muscles of older, habitual exercisers were comparable to individuals in their 40s.
Read on to discover some additional benefits of physical activity, and get actionable tips to get started with a new or improved exercise routine.
Please consult your doctor before modifying or beginning a new exercise routine.
Health Benefits of Starting to Exercise Again
We all know that exercise is good for us, but just how good? Even moderate amounts of physical activity can deliver benefits such as:
● Increased strength and endurance
● Better sleep
● A lower chance of becoming depressed
● Reduced body fat and better control of your weight
● Lower risk of falls
● Increased energy
You might be particularly interested in that last point. It might seem counterintuitive. After all, how can exerting energy actually give you energy?
According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s because regular exercise promotes blood and oxygen flow throughout your body, which helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. Over time, with regular exercise, everyday tasks will take less effort because your body is performing them with greater ease.
Exercise also stimulates your brain to produce chemicals that can help reduce stress and make you feel happier. Less stress and a more positive outlook? What’s not to love about that?
Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has updated their guidelines for weekly physical activity. To achieve the maximum health benefits, adults should aim for 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week. You should also incorporate balance and strength training into your workouts at least twice a week.
Finally, the guidelines call for less time sitting and more time moving throughout the day.
It’s important to remember that getting any amount of physical exercise a day is better than getting none. People with chronic illnesses are encouraged to get the same amount of activity, but even if they can’t reach that goal, they should get as much activity as their abilities allow.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also suggests starting a new physical activity regimen slowly, building up to your goal, and choosing activities that are appropriate for your fitness level.
Exercise Ideas for Older Adults
One of the simplest ways to get more physical activity into your daily routine is by walking. With numerous parks and trails, the Upper West Side is the perfect place to walk. Whether it’s a stroll around your building or down to your favorite coffee shop, walking can strengthen your bones and muscles and improve your mood.
If you’re already active and are looking to try something different, explore some of the forms of exercise below, as suggested in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans guide:
- Dancing, Tai Chi, or stretching
- Jogging or running
- Swimming or water aerobics
- Riding a bike
- Bodyweight exercises such as pushups, sit-ups, or planks
- Digging and lifting (like while gardening, landscaping, or woodworking)
Some exercises can have multiple benefits, like carrying groceries: You’ll build both strength and cardiovascular endurance. Be on the lookout for easy ways to double up on your exercise, such as taking the stairs when on a shopping trip.
Staying Active in Assisted Living
Assisted living communities offer seniors numerous ways to stay active. In addition to the convenience of onsite amenities like fitness centers and wellness programs, assisted living communities also offer camaraderie. Working out is always easier when you are with friends.
At 305 West End Assisted Living, you’ll find a way to stay active however you choose, including:
- A fitness center, wellness programs, and fitness-related events and activities.
- Close proximity to outdoor destinations like Riverside Park and Central Park, as well as cultural attractions like the American Museum of Natural History.
- Walking access to shopping, fine dining, gourmet groceries, and more.
Learn more about the sophisticated living options at 305 West End Assisted Living by requesting a complimentary brochure.