Exercise… Is it important? Or is it one of those things that only the extremely athletic and fit people should do? You know, the ones that run marathons or try out for the Olympics. That’s the view that a lot of people have about the word exercise. I’m not going to ever be an athlete, so why even try? Unfortunately, that kind of mindset can really harm your physical and emotional wellbeing and outlook on life, especially as you age. Exercise is extremely important for everyone, especially the elderly. Let’s look at some of the reasons why.
Improves Bone Density and Prevents Muscle Deterioration
As we age, our bone density and muscle mass decreases. This can cause us to become less mobile and also affects our balance. Exercise can help change that. It can help your muscles stay strong and flexible. And can help your balance be more stable as well. Falls are a big risk for the elderly. Nobody wants that! So, having a good exercise regimen can help prevent them. It can also help prevent diseases like osteoporosis.
Prevent or Delay Disease
Regular exercise is a good preventative for many chronic conditions. Studies show that people who have diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease would all benefit from exercise. It can prevent high cholesterol and stroke. And can also help with getting a good night’s sleep and regulating the bowels.
Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
Endorphins is the magical word here! When we exercise our body releases endorphins into the brain, which causes the feeling of happiness! The release of endorphins helps prevent depression, which is something that many people who transition into an assisted living or nursing home frequently struggle with. Exercise can help you feel accomplished and have a positive outlook on your day. And give your day some meaning. Overall, it can help improve your quality of life as you grow older! And don’t forget about also exercising the mind! Doing things like puzzles, sudoku, crosswords, participating in music and playing games are all ways to keep the mind sharp! This will better your focus and help prevent diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
So, how do we motivate ourselves to exercise as we get older?
Switching things up can be one way. Going on walks, stretching, and doing a water aerobics class are all ways that help seniors stay fit, but are also easy on the joints. If you are living in an assisted living home or nursing home, participate in the activities! Joining in with others who are in the same stage of life as you can really motivate you. Activities in the homes can also bring out your inner competition. I didn’t realize that my grandma had a competitive streak until she started participating in the activities in the nursing home. And if the assisted living or nursing home that you live in has therapy, I would like to encourage you to go to it. The therapy workers can help you build/maintain your strength in a safe and healthy way. Overall, just remember that staying active can help provide you with a better quality of life. And I think that is something that deep down everybody wants.