Though doctors are constantly encouraging people to exercise, many seniors think the necessity of exercise lessens with old age. However, even gentle walks or in-chair exercises can greatly boost senior health. Even if your loved one can no longer run for miles or lift heavy weights, exercise can still be beneficial. Getting regular exercise is extremely important for seniors because of the following 5 reasons.
1. Prevent Osteoporosis
When people get older, their bodies cannot produce new bone tissue as quickly as old bone tissue is removed, which causes the weakened, brittle bones of osteoporosis. A 2014 study in the Journal of Family and Community Medicine found that exercise can prevent bone density loss. It also builds muscles that can protect and cushion the bones from fractures. The most effective forms of exercise for this purpose are gentle weight-bearing exercises like lifting weights.
2. Maintain Mobility
Most seniors want to retain physical function as they age. Exercise builds muscle and stamina and increases flexibility and balance. It can also reduce some forms of arthritis that make it harder to move around. All of these functions help seniors move around easier while lowering their risk of slip and fall accidents. If your aging loved one has limited mobility and needs help maintaining a regular exercise routine, consider hiring a San Diego caregiver.
3. Reduce Blood Glucose Levels
The body starts having difficulty regulating blood sugar levels with age, so many seniors develop diabetes. When exercising, the body uses blood glucose as a form of energy instead of allowing it to build up to dangerously high levels that can damage nerve and muscle cells. Exercising can be a helpful way of managing diabetes symptoms or preventing the disease from developing in the senior years.
4. Boost Mood
The benefits of exercise are not just physical. When people exercise, their bodies produce more mood-boosting hormones. This effect is so pronounced that a 2004 study found only 14 minutes of exercise 3 times a week was enough to relieve depression. Since seniors are particularly at risk for depression and anxiety disorders, exercise is an important part of maintaining emotional health in old age. Even a gentle walk is enough to boost a person’s mood.
5. Lower Blood Pressure
Exercise strengthens the heart and opens the blood vessels so the circulatory system can pump blood with less effort. It also encourages weight loss that further reduces blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with a variety of chronic health conditions that occur with old age, like heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and dementia, which means lowering blood pressure can help seniors prevent these dangerous conditions. Exercise is so effective at lowering blood pressure that some doctors allow seniors to stop taking blood pressure medication after they start exercising.
If your loved one lives a sedentary lifestyle and needs more encouragement to exercise, turn to the dedicated caregivers at Coast Care Partners, a leading provider of elderly home care. San Diego families can rely on our caregivers to help their senior loved ones live happier and healthier lives while aging in place. Call 619-354-2544 today to learn more about our high-quality in-home care services.