Regular exercise and reducing your weight has long been shown to be one of the most important things you can do for your health. This has been shown for all age group but the benefits of exercise for older adults is higher than at any other age.
There will be many who say “Why bother- it’s too late for me!” but it has been shown that even if you have never exercised before there are still benefits of exercise for older adults.
This new report on the benefits of exercise for older adults suggests it is never too late to start!
“a growing body of evidence shows that regular exercise can delay or prevent many age-related ailments, even among longtime couch potatoes.”
The Health Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults include:
Arthritis. If you suffer from the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis, becoming more active may seem like the last thing you want to do. But increasingly, research suggests it could be one of the best strategies for feeling better….
Dementia. “Exercise can keep your brain sharp,” says Milner. Indeed, its effect on brain fitness is drawing the scrutiny of researchers. In a 2006 study by the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, higher levels of physical activity were associated with a 30 to 40 percent reduction in the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in people age 65 and up.
Osteoporosis. Falls and broken bones often spell the difference between living independently and having to rely on assistance. Research indicates that exercise can prevent these setbacks by building stronger bones and lowering the risk of fractures.
Type 2 diabetes. Working up a sweat not only helps keep blood glucose under control, but also addresses heart and blood flow problems, reducing the risk of heart disease and nerve damage—common concerns for people with diabetes.
Heart disease. Exercise has long been known for its healthful effects on the cardiovascular system.
Stroke. When an obstruction develops within a vessel that carries blood to the brain, a person can suffer a stroke. Physical activity in older adults is associated with a substantially decreased risk for such an event.
Depression. Working up a sweat has proved to be an effective weapon against mood disorders at any age, but could be especially important for older people.
I think this does really summarize the benefits of exercise for older adults. There is no doubt if you want live longer and have a better quality of life then you need to take some cardiovascular exercise.
But it hurts so how do I get these benefits of exercise for older adults?
Those of us with osteoarthritis (and research shows that is in 3 of the over 50s) know that if we go for that vigorous walk or play a round of golf for example we will pay for it with pain and stiffness later- maybe for days after!
What you must realise is that you have to do two different types of exercises. There are exercises for osteoarthritis which are a particular set of movements for the affected joint to stretch and strengthen it. Then there is the cardiovascular type of exercise which give the health benefits discussed above. If you have osteoarthritis but you want the benefits of exercise for older adults you have to do both types.
Start with the exercises for osteoarthritis to increase the flexibility and strength in the joint. This will allow you to take the cardiovascular or general type of exercise with less repercussions and reap the benefits of exercise for older adults.
Do you exercise? Let us know in the comments below what type of exercise you do and whether it makes your osteoarthritis pain worse. Let’s help each other by suggesting what we can do to get the benefit of exercise….