Exercise typically leads to better health, but does it lead to a longer life? A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology says “yes.” Exercise helps extend your life, and you don’t need to do that much of it.
Replacing 30 minutes of time spent sitting with 30 minutes of light exercise can lower your odds of early mortality by about 17 percent. Moderate exercise helps decrease the risk for serious issues, like coronary artery disease and cancer, while also aiding in managing chronic illnesses. Type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis are two common health conditions that often improve with exercise.
Sticking with a regular exercise program can also help increase stamina, build a stronger immune system, and lower your odds for developing depression. For older adults there are even more rewards to be reaped by exercising.
Exercise and Aging
Adults frequently experience decreased mobility and a loss of flexibility as they age. By engaging in regular exercise, an older adult can build and maintain flexibility and core strength. Both help improve balance and coordination, which in turn help guard against falling. Falls remain the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among seniors.
Older adults experience sleep disorders and insomnia in higher numbers than younger adults. Another benefit of exercising is that it often leads to better quality sleep. Researchers say a good night’s rest helps seniors with everything from memory to fall prevention.
Connecting with Senior-Friendly Forms of Exercise
If you or an older adult in your life needs help starting an exercise regimen, the first step is talking with a physician. He or she can guide you in setting reasonable goals.
A few fitness resources to review with your primary care physician include:
- Go4Life: This popular fitness program was created by The National Institute on Aging at NIH. It covers everything from exercise techniques to safety and motivation. You can download fitness guides on their website at no cost.
- ElderGym: Another senior-focused fitness site, ElderGym has resources that range from helpful articles to podcasts, guides, and videos. Some resources are free and others come with a monthly membership to the ElderGym Academy.
- Walk with Ease: Developed by the Arthritis Foundation, this six-week walking program is designed to reduce arthritis pain. Videos and a mobile app help you get moving and track your progress.
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