Significance of Exercise As We Age

Exercise senior

 

The Significance of Exercise As We Age

As we age, the importance of physical activity increases. 

There are so many benefits to increasing your physical activity during the day. Studies have shown that even small bouts of exercise throughout the day can boost your mood, memory and immune system, help you live longer, and alleviate chronic pain. Although you may be afraid to start a new exercise or physical activity, you can start with walking. Making small changes to your daily routine will help your overall health goals. The YMCA of Long Island offers wellness plans to help you set goals that are realistic for you!

BOOST YOUR MOOD, MEMORY AND IMMUNE SYSTEM

So many of our body systems need physical activity to function optimally. Endorphins, or the “feel good” chemicals released during exercise are responsible for improvement in mood, reducing anxiety and depression. Exercise increases the amount of oxygen to your brain which aids in keeping your memory sharp and reduces the risk of memory disorders. 

During this pandemic, we have also seen a lot of research about exercise and how it improves your immune system. One study released findings that physical activity helps to flush out toxins in our body, including lungs and airways. While exercising, our body produces changes in our white blood cells and antibodies. These antibodies keep your body ready to fight viruses or infection. 

HELP YOU LIVE LONGER

Protects Your Heart

Exercise has been proven to protect your heart. Cardiovascular health is crucial to help you live a long life. One study from the American Heart Association shows a strong correlation between physical activity, cardiovascular disease and mortality rate. The more active you are, the lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.

Controls Blood Sugar

Did you know that physical activity can lower your blood sugar levels for up to 24 hours? The reason is that exercise helps your body process insulin more efficiently. While your muscles are moving, the muscle cells require glucose to move, lowering your blood sugar levels. Keeping your blood sugars controlled prevents diabetes.

Prevent Falls

Leading a more active lifestyle results in more flexibility and balance. If you are more flexible and coordinated, this may prevent falls. In exercising, you are strengthening your muscles in your arms and legs which aid in coordination and balance. Maintaining your balance will reduce the risk of falling. 

The YMCA of Long Island offers Moving For Better Balance program for active older adults to maintain and increase their balance for fall prevention. 

ALLEVIATE CHRONIC PAIN

Arthritis and Joint Pain

There are so many exercises to help alleviate chronic pain of arthritis. Exercising to your body’s limit will help you reduce joint stiffness and pain, increase your flexibility and develop strength. The releases of endorphins will also ease the pain of arthritis.  

Diabetes

Exercise helps you control your blood sugars as well as controlling your weight. It is important to know your body’s limits and keep a check on your blood sugar before and after exercise. Exercising gets the blood flowing and increases blood circulation and blood vessel health throughout the body. 

 

Resources:

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.CIR.0000048890.59383.8D

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm

https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/importance-of-exercise#1

https://time.com/5553504/exercise-to-live-longer/