5 reasons why older adults should exercise

One key component to aging in place successfully is remaining active.

Exercise can be challenging—even with younger people—but incorporating into your daily life, as an older person, is critical for not only extending your remaining years but also being able to enjoy them.

Here are 5 reasons why older adults should exercise:

1. Exercise improves strength, flexibility, and posture.

Strength, flexibility, and posture are critical for helping us to maintain balance and coordination. By working on the abilities that keep us balanced and coordinated, we can reduce our risk of falling.

2. Exercise improves bone density.

Related to falling, adding long-term, regular exercise into our lifestyle—particularly strength training—increases bone density. This, in turn, minimizes any bone damage if we do fall.

3. Exercise improves bodily function.

A healthy lifestyle, including exercise, improves our body’s immunity, blood pressure, and digestion system. These work together to help us function properly and, ultimately, extend our life.

4. Exercise lowers risk of chronic conditions.

By improving our overall physical health, exercise can help us lower our risk of developing chronic conditions that typically show up in later years, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even some cancers.

5. Exercise treats depression.

As we age, we may experience loneliness as we become separated from friends and loved ones. We may become discouraged from our diminishing independence and our increasing reliance on care from others. Whatever the cause, it’s not uncommon for older adults to develop depression as they age. In fact, as many as 2 out of every 5 older adults may experience depression. Luckily, research has established that exercise is a reliable, natural therapy for treating depression.

If you’re interested in starting an exercise program, contact your doctor. Once you receive medical clearance, check with your local fitness centre or seniors organization about fitness services in the community for older adults. When you do start a program, reach out to fellow participants; making friends will encourage you to stay motivated.