Think it’s too late to start getting active? A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that even those who only start exercising later in life will still reap health benefits. A direct link was found between healthy aging and the amount of physical activity that older people get.
Of course, the sooner one begins incorporating regular exercise into their life, the better. The study also confirms that people who have always been active are more likely to enjoy optimal health well into their later years.
According to Medical News Today, Senior Cardiac Nurse Doireann Maddock of the British Health Foundation which helped to fund the study remarked, “It’s well worth getting into the habit of keeping active, as we know it can help reduce the risk of heart disease along with many other conditions.”
Maddock emphasized that every ten minutes counts. Even incorporating what seems like small extra activities such as a brisk walk during a lunch break, parking further away from work or the grocery store and walking can also help.
The goal should be to aim for daily exercise and a total of 150 minutes each week. Ideally, the activity should be demanding enough that you feel warmer and are breathing harder than normal.
The many benefits of exercise at any age
If you’re worried that you won’t have the energy, consider that exercising will actually provide your body with more energy. No matter what your age, a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy and can even cause older people to lose their independence.
By not being active, seniors are more likely to be hospitalized and to take more prescription medicines which often come with a host of side effects that can have a significant negative impact on quality of life.
As falls are a common problem for older people, being active can help prevent this by improving balance and posture as well as strength, flexibility and coordination.
Depression or sadness is also fairly common among those who are sedentary as physical activity helps to increase the levels of endorphins in the body which are often referred to as “happy hormones.” Studies have found that exercising regularly is often as effective, or even more so, than an anti-depressant – all without the side effects.
The benefits of exercise are practically endless, but one of the most important for many people as they age is its power to help prevent memory loss and dementia, and even slow the progress of brain aging disorders like Alzheimer’s.
All types of physical activity are beneficial
Exercising doesn’t have to mean running. The best way to develop a good habit is to find an activity you enjoy. You might take dancing lessons, ride a bike, go swimming, walk through your neighborhood, or even practice yoga.
Just ask 93-year-old Bernice Bates if she thinks one can ever be too old to exercise. At 91, she set a Guinness World Record as the oldest yoga teacher in the world. She has students who are in their 80s and 90s and credits her good health (she takes no medications and has no health problems) to being active. In addition to yoga she gardens, lifts weights, walks, swims and does tai chi.
-The Alternative Daily