Benefits Of Senior Fitness
Table Of Contents
As we age, we tend to become less physically active and stop exercising; this is due to many factors such as health problems, being overweight, dealing with chronic pain, and the fear of falling.
However, not exercising can exacerbate all the health problems mentioned above, and this is why senior fitness has become more popular in the past few years.
In a 2018 study, Swedish scientists concluded that physical activity is the number one factor that influences longevity; in other words, the more you are physically active, the longer you are going to live.
Leading benefits of senior fitness
Senior fitness has been shown to provide several health benefits, affecting both physical and mental health. Here are the 9 leading benefits of senior wellness.
Leading physical benefits of senior fitness
Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is defined as the number of calories your body needs to maintain the functionality of your internal organs without any physical activity during the day.
This parameter tends to slow down as we age, which results in burning fewer calories per day, and eventually, weight gain.
BMR is proportionally influenced by how physically active we are, so the more we exercise, the faster our BMR is.
This is one of the reasons we should stay active, especially when we are older.
Several studies have shown that physical activity will release anti-inflammatory substances in your bloodstream, reducing general inflammation and pain.
This is particularly beneficial to the elderly who suffer from chronic joint and/or muscular pain.
Decreased the risk of many diseases
Being sedentary (lack of physical activity) is a major risk factor for a whole range of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, and blood hypertension.
Unfortunately, some elderly think that because they are old, these diseases are irrelevant anymore, and that’s where they are mistaken.
These diseases can develop at any age, and what’s more concerning is the fact that their progression is way faster in elderly people because of the decreased performance of their organs.
Researchers believe that senior fitness can reduce your risk of these diseases even if it’s started at a very advanced age.
This is one of the most important benefits; as you age, your lean muscle mass tends to shrink and you gain more fat.
As a result, you are what they call “metabolically obese”, even if your weight falls in the normal range.
This has several consequences, including the reduction of mobility, weight gain, and a dramatic increase in the risk of Myocardial infarction (a.k.a heart attack).
Our joints get rusty with age; this is partially due to the reduced use of these joints.
As a result, most elderly deal with reduced range of motion and articular pain, which can all be improved by exercise.
Mental leading benefits of senior fitness
Enhanced sleep quality
Sleep is a major influencer of our health status; if you are dealing with insomnia or the quality of your sleep is poor, there is a higher risk of developing many organic and mental diseases.
Exercising has been shown to drastically improve the quality of sleep, and directly influence the production of melatonin, which is the primary sleep hormone.
Senior fitness will help you get to sleep faster and for longer hours during the night.
May prevent some mental health diseases
Exercise has been shown to modify the neuronal structure of your brain, preventing some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
While the exact mechanisms involved in this process are still unclear, scientists believe it’s the result of improved neurotransmission activity and reduced inflammation and oxidative stress inside the neurons.
Reduced age-related mental deterioration
Elderly people often suffer from mental deterioration even without realizing it; this could present as forgetting important events like a loved one’s birthday or having trouble remembering the name of someone you’ve known for a long time.
Nevertheless, this deterioration is bound to happen but don’t panic just yet.
Multiple meta-analyses found that senior fitness can delay and even prevent some of these age-related declines in mental performance by the preservation of neurons and satellite cells, which are responsible for providing nutrients and protection to the neuron cells.
During exercise, your brain will release hormones called endorphins; these compounds have a potent effect in uplifting mood, reducing sadness, and relieving stress.
So, if you are dealing with anxiety and mood swings, exercise might just be the right fit for you.
Exercises for the elderly
Leading benefits of senior fitness should be composed of four major components:
- Cardio exercises
- Strength training
Each of these types serves a particular function and by including all four subtypes in your exercise routine, you will get all the benefits each type has to offer.
Cardiovascular training focuses on elevating your heart rate and the rhythmic use of your muscles. Although walking as fast as you’re able won’t elevate your heart rate that much it is still one of the best ways for seniors to get exercise.
This will help you develop endurance to avoid getting out of breath whenever you’re climbing the stairs.
Strength training involves lifting weight and helps you build up muscles.
This is important to maintain your lean muscle mass and elevate your BMR.
Balance and stretching are important to preserve the range of motion of your joints, as well as making you flexible to avoid falling and preventable injuries.
Tips for the leading benefits of senior fitness
Staying motivated enough to keep exercising can be quite challenging, especially for the older age groups.
Nevertheless, here are some tips that you could follow to keep you motivated:
- Track down your progress by writing everything on a journal
- Focus on your short-term goals
- Involve friends and family in this journey to stay motivated
- Give yourself a break every now and then
- Reward yourself, you have earned it!
We’ve named 9 leading benefits of senior fitness but I’m sure there are many more. Just because it’s not listed here doesn’t mean it’s not important. If you are doing something that increases your fitness and it’s not listed here don’t worry about it. You should just keep doing it.
Senior fitness is pivotal to stay healthy as we age; it doesn’t matter when you start exercising, what matters is that you do, and you stay consistent. Remember exercise and staying fit take many forms. They can be as simple as doing housework or as complex as going to a gym for a scheduled workout.
Here is a fitness program that might help you stay or get in shape. Workout Anywhere is intended to eliminate the high cost of gym membership and equipment by giving visitors valuable resources to workout… anywhere. This is a fitness evaluation video to see what your fitness level is when you begin your exercises and then when you finish them.
If you have any questions about senior fitness, feel free to share them in the comment section below.