8 Reasons Why Exercise is the Key to Aging Well

What if I told you there was one simple thing that you could do that would unlock 8 critical elements to aging well?

What if I told you there was simple that you could to that would…

  • Improve your health if you already suffer from some diseases and disabilities;
  • Help you manage symptoms of illness and pain;
  • Improve your sleep;
  • Decrease your blood pressure;
  • Increase your bone density;
  • Improve your mobility, flexibility, strength, balance…which will help prevent falling;
  • Help slow the progression of brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease; and
  • Help you live independently safely and longer?

Well, there is one simple thing you can do to gain these benefits and it only takes 20 minutes a day to start seeing and feeling some results.

Healthy Active Seniors staying activeExercise.

Exercise – The Key to Aging Well

So many older adults are told routinely by family and even their physicians to ‘take it easy.’ In fairness, they think they are doing you a favor. But sadly they are not. Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for adults over 50.

Inactivity is the Real Cause of Getting Older

Inactivity often causes older adults to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and use of medications for illnesses.

And inactivity increases your risk of falling. The fact is, we become a fall risk, NOT because we are getting older, but because we lose our strength and balance due to inactivity – and that ultimately affects our mobility.

I recently heard Sir Muir Gray, Director of the National Knowledge Service and Chief Knowledge Officer to the National Health Service, in the UK speak on the topic of aging. His current work is focused on demonstrating how the problems of aging can be pushed past our 70’s and 80’s and well into our 90’s with the right lifestyle choices.

He said, “The older you get, the MORE action you have to take in order to stay healthy. Getting older is NOT the problem – reducing the amount of exercise and activity is the problem. Loss of fitness is the Rather than ‘taking it easy’ we should be doing more than we did last month and last year.”

What’s your true age?

Did you know there is a difference between your functional age and your chronological age? Your functional age is your REAL age.

Your functional fitness age is a measure that reflects your overall physical ability to complete daily tasks such as preparing meals and performing various household chores.

Your overall fitness is related to muscle strength in your upper and lower limbs and changes in body fat percentage, flexibility, agility and endurance.

My mother was a good example. In her mid 60’s her functional age was more like an 80-year-old simply because she chose to ‘take it easy’ and became sedentary. She lost muscle tone, flexibility, balance and bone density. She became a fall risk – and eventually died from the complications of a fall.

But it didn’t have to be that way.

The 60 or 70-year-old who stays active and makes an effort to increase activity as they age rather than becoming more sedentary can reverse the effects of aging and decrease their functional age.

Your age does NOT define your ability. And just as importantly, you have the power to change your ability. You have the power to decrease your functional age, even as your chronological age creeps up.

Would you like to…Healthy Active Seniors with their Grandkids

  • Play with your grandchildren?
  • Dance at a party or a wedding?
  • Carry your groceries?
  • Walk without losing your balance?
  • Stand on your tiptoes to get something off of a shelf?
  • Stretch to get hard to reach places when you do your housework?
  • Look over your shoulder when you are backing out of your parking spot?
  • Bend over to put your shoes and socks on?

My guess is that you would! And you can. It doesn’t matter if you are 50 years old, 80, or 90. You can start to feel better with regular exercise. You have the power to have an impact on the quality of your life.

Each and every one of us can gain significant health benefits with a moderate amount of physical activity, preferably daily.

As we get older, starting or maintaining a regular exercise routine can be a challenge. It is easy to feel discouraged by illness, ongoing health problems, or concerns about injuries or falls.

But you can do it. Start with walking. Swing your arms. Pick up the pace for 20 seconds every few minutes. Get moving!

Vital senior couple exercising in the gym.
Senior couple exercising to age well.

Join the local gym or seniors’ centre. Register for aqua-fit. Buy an exercise DVD or find an online program.

Exercise is the key to staying strong, energetic, and healthy. You have the power to impact your quality of life now and in the future.

As Nike used to say, “Just do it!”