By Diana Larson, RN
As you age, your body undergoes certain changes, and you may find yourself making excuses for why you can’t exercise like you used to. Changes in mobility, flexibility, and joint stiffness may leave you feeling like exercise isn’t always possible. However, the benefits of exercise greatly outweigh the risks.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says adults should do 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Staying active and healthy should continue even as you move into the golden years.
Benefits of exercise for older adults.
Exercise has a lot of great benefits for your overall body health. From bone health, boosting metabolism, preventing illness, improving quality of life and sociability, exercise does it all. We have sampled a few quotes from industry experts about why you should work out. Read on below.
Better bone health
- It improves bone health, reduces depression, and helps maintain HDL “healthy” cholesterol. -Lisa Andrews
- Weight-bearing exercises help strengthen bones and prevent pain from osteoporosis. -Sarah Ann Kelly
- Prevent bone fractures and breaks by participating in exercise, such as weight training or jogging. -Mandy Enright
- Exercising outdoors helps to increase Vitamin D levels, which strengthens bones. -JoAnn Yanez
- Weight-bearing exercise helps strengthen bone density. -Sarah Bright
- Muscle building exercise and balance exercise preserve bone loss and prevent falls. -Rachel Straub
- Walking improves bone density and prevents osteoporosis. -Cheryl Russo
- After menopause, women lose bone mass and density, which is prevented by exercise. -Lisa Corsello
- Walking and resistance training, and other weight-bearing exercises, keeps your bones and muscles strong. -Shane McLean
Build muscle, prevent muscle loss and improve slow metabolism
- Strength training can help preserve muscle mass and prevent a slowdown in metabolism. -Sarah Bright
- Building muscles counteracts metabolism slowdown.
- Flexibility staves off muscle deterioration and tears. -Cheryl Russo
- Weight lifting improves muscle mass and helps the body burn fat. -Cheryl Russo
- Muscle mass deteriorates when we don’t regularly use our muscles. -Amira Lamb
- Resistance exercise and a protein-rich diet prevent muscle loss. -Laura Dilz
Boost mental health
- It boosts memory and brain function, reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Exercise also keeps you feeling and looking young. -Beth Weinstein
- Exercise improves cognitive function and reduces the risk of developing dementia. -Rachel Straub
- Cardio exercises can prevent cognitive decline, lower blood pressure, and keep your weight balanced. -Treva Brandon Scharf
- Exercise improves memory, strength, and balance. It helps people continue to be independent. -Angelique Millis
- Exercise boosts mood and regulates sleep. -Lisa Corsello
- It decreases symptoms of depression.
- We connect to our bodies and become more aware when we exercise. -Lisa Corsello
- You feel happier and younger. -Treva Brandon Scharf
Improve balance and prevent falls
- Weakness and loss of balance are usually symptoms of inactivity, not old age. -Dr. Alicia Arbaje
- Improving balance helps prevent falls and accidents. -Sarah Ann Kelly
- Falls are the most common cause of injury for older adults, so do balance exercises to reduce your risk. -Sarah Bright
- Core conditioning improves balance. -Treva Brandon Scharf
- Balance exercises and focusing on core strength are important. -Cheryl Russo
- Keeping your legs and core strong help ease walking up and down stairs. -Cheryl Russo
Prevent and recover faster from illnesses
- A regular exercise program has as much of an impact on your life as quitting smoking does.
- If you are physically fit, you will recover faster from illnesses. -Rachel Straub
- Poor posture decreases lung capacity and can lead to respiratory illness. -Rachel Straub
- Activity level usually drops after retirement. Staying active helps prevent heart disease and diabetes, diseases from a sedentary lifestyle. -Toby Amidor
- Any type of cardio and aerobic activity keeps the heart functioning. -Cheryl Russo
- High fitness levels decrease causes of mortality, such as heart disease and cancer. -Rachel Straub
- Heart disease and diabetes can be prevented and reversed with exercise. -JoAnn Yanez
- It strengthens your cardiovascular system and lowers your cholesterol. This lowers your change of blood clots and heart attacks.
- Exercise lowers systolic blood pressure. -JoAnn Yanez
- It helps with digestive health.
- Exercise can decrease your chances of Alzheimer’s disease.
- It can limit the number of daily medications you need to take. -Maurice Williams
- All movement improves circulation. -Cheryl Russo
- Exercise can reduce and control symptoms of chronic diseases. -Alex McBrairty
- It strengthens our immunity and keeps the lymphatic system moving. -Amira Lamb
- Mobilizes the joints and reduces pain and stiffness from arthritis. -JoAnn Yanez
- Increasing your lean body mass can decrease your hospital stay. -Lisa Mikus
- It prevents joint stiffness and increases mobility and fluidity to prevent injuries. -Sarah Ann Kelly
- Exercise can help speed up recovery after injury or surgery.
- Exercise keeps you strong so you don’t lose the ability to do daily activities. -Jen Mueller
- Strength training helps prevent disability and further fosters independence. -Rachel Straub
- It keeps you feeling independent and increasing your quality of life. -Alex McBrairty
- Exercise improves joint mobility and flexibility. -Sarah Bright
- It builds stamina and physical capability. -JoAnn Yanez
- Exercise helps keep you looking in good shape for date night. -Toby Amidor
- Exercising in groups or classes helps with promoting sociability and reduce depression. -Kat Haselkorn
- Workout with partners and in classes to make it a social activity. -Treva Brandon Scharf
- A cardio and strengthening class that requires following an instructor helps the body and mind. -Cheryl Russo
- Exercise allows you to keep up with your active grandkids. -Maurice Williams
- Finding classes with other older adults eases your transition into beginning exercise.
- Joining a fitness class with friends keeps you motivated and you can meet new people. -Sarah Bright
Which exercises should you focus on?
- Do functional movements instead of isolation exercises, such as squats or bicep curls. -Cheryl Russo
- Look at daily activities that require assistance and target the body systems associated with it. -Cheryl Russo
Conclusion. It’s never too late to begin an exercise routine
There’s no time like the present to start keeping fit and staying healthy. Make small adjustments to your life daily and in the end, working out will become a habit.
- “No matter what your age, you need to exercise.” -Cheryl Russo
- “You’re never too old to start building muscle.” -Franklin Antoian
- Exercising sets an example for others in your life. -Lisa Corsello