There's strong scientific evidence that people who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia.
Not only does exercise improve health and reduce the risk of death, but it also improves one’s ability to keep up with everyday activities like housework, grocery shopping, and basic activities like getting up from a low seat or getting out of your car. The older you get, the more you can lower your risk of death or disability by being physically active, compared to sedentary individuals in your age group. Even moderate physical activity has been shown to help seniors retain their ability to do recreational and household activity.
Seniors, 65 and older, who added exercise to their lives had lower mortality and fewer hospitalizations than people who remained inactive. Regular exercise also increases circulation and oxygen intake which are important for our eye health. Exercise increases the supply of blood to the brain, spurs the development of new neurons, and forges more connections between them. This leads to prevention of memory loss.
One study found that the effect of exercise can be exponential: sedentary, frail seniors who began exercise routines built their muscle mass by less than 2%. But their knee extension strength increased by 8%, suggesting that even little changes in muscle mass can have significant changes in muscle performance.
A version of Tai Chi C’uan, modified for seniors, has been shown to be a promising method of reducing fall risk in seniors Studies have shown that the majority of diabetic patients in exercise programs can often actually reduce their dose of medication after a period of time.
More physical activity has been linked to better cognitive skills and a lower prevalence of mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to dementia. Many studies have shown similar results that confirm the effectiveness of exercise interventions in reducing pain and disability scores in patients with knee OA.
Many large-scale studies have shown that higher levels of physical activity reduce the risk of Alzheimer disease, vascular dementia and all-cause dementia. Even in studies of people without dementia, more physical activity has been linked to better cognitive skills and a lower prevalence of mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to dementia.
Walking is the most common form of leisure-time physical activity for most seniors. As little as 28 blocks per week (roughly equivalent to 1.4 miles) have been shown to reduce the risk for mortality, dementia, depression and needing help with everyday activities.
The less time people spend sitting has also been linked to reduced heart risk.
There are so many benefits of physical activities and so many ways of staying fit. Just get started!