Aging and Exercise

  • With respect to the aging process, what are some benefits derived from participation in regular physical activity?

Research shows that many of the physiological declines that are typically associated with the aging process can be reversed, or at least slowed down by engaging in regular physical activity. While exercise is not a magic pill or the proverbial Fountain of Youth; it is about as close to it as you can get.

Regular physical activity is well documented to help reduce the odds in developing heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, and diabetes. These are major reasons to develop a habit of regular exercise. There are also factors such as weight loss and control, keeping depression at bay and helping with feelings of anxiety, as well as, fostering improvements in mood and feelings of well-being. Regular exercise can boost one’s mood and feeling of self-confidence. Regular exercise can help reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. Engaging in regular physical activity can help those with chronic, disabling conditions by improving stamina and muscle strength. Exercise can help keep the body flexible and stiff joints more pliable. Lack of exercise actually can make your joints even more painful and stiff. Keeping your muscles and surrounding tissue strong can be crucial to maintaining support for your bones. Not exercising weakens those supporting muscles, creating more stress on your joints. Certain regular exercise also helps with balance, which can enable a lifestyle of independence as well as promoting safety by reducing the risk of falling and performing routine daily tasks. Another benefit of regular physical activity is in how it aids brain function. Exercise is proven to change the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills. This is especially good news as the older we get, the more we may experience ‘brain fog’ and declining memory.

Exercise performed regularly improves physical appearance and when enjoyed in a group setting, provides a good social support. Regular physical activity is the key to staying strong, energetic, and healthy as you get older. If you find an activity you enjoy, it can even be fun. Exercise helps make life pleasurable and expands the quality of life.

by Terri L. Pouliot

 

 

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