Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

Fitness,Healthy Aging
June 7, 2011

Staying active can improve the quality — and length — of your life.

As you age, you may lose bone density and muscle mass or gain weight, all of which have potentially serious effects on your health. Luckily, staying active into your twilight years can help mitigate and even prevent these conditions. Not only can exercise keep you looking and feeling great, but it also has a variety of other health benefits.

Prevent injuries. The stronger your body is, the less likely it is that you will experience a debilitating injury. Falls and fractures become much more common with age and can result in extended hospital stays, surgery and rehabilitation. Strong muscles hold bones in place, protecting them from potential breaks. Preventing these occurrences by staying active will not only benefit your health, but also your wallet.

Promote healthy muscles and bones. Keeping your muscles moving is the most effective way to prevent your muscles and bones from deteriorating. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, engaging in exercise for just two-and-a-half hours a week can also help reduce bone loss and manage arthritic symptoms. That’s about 20 minutes a day. Additionally, The AGS Foundation for Health in Aging says that lifting weights, doing water aerobics and other weight-bearing activities can help you build and retain strong muscles and protect your bones.

Improve cardiovascular health. Your heart is one of the most powerful muscles in your body. Keeping it healthy and strong through aerobic exercise can help prevent heart attacks and other degenerative cardiovascular diseases, according to the American Heart Association. Doing easy cardiovascular activities like taking a walk, riding a bike or swimming can have long-lasting health benefits.

Live longer. One of the best side effects from exercising is lengthening your expected life span. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that exercising for just seven hours a week can decrease your risk of dying early, regardless of what age you implement an exercise regimen. Now that’s a return on your investment. Not only can exercise lengthen your life, but it can improve the quality of it, especially if you’re sharing your favorite active pastimes with your friends, family and loved ones.