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Staying physically fit is not just for young adults -- exercise is for seniors, too! By staying physically active, older adults can help prevent many conditions that are associated with aging, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and even depression. And it doesn't need to be strenuous or long. Guidelines recommend engaging in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

Seniors and Exercise: An Overview

There are many benefits to staying active, regardless of a person's age. Physical activity can help prevent heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression. Yet until recently, the notion that exercise for older people was beneficial has been left out of the picture.
New information is emerging from research that shows that, for older adults, not only is physical activity helpful for health reasons, it also allows them to stay independent longer.

Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

An inactive lifestyle can cause older people to lose ground in four areas that are important for staying healthy and independent:
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Endurance.
Fortunately, research suggests that you can maintain or at least partly restore these four areas through exercise or through everyday physical activities (walking briskly to the bus stop, for example) that accomplish some of the same goals as exercise. What may seem like very small changes resulting from exercise and physical activity can have a big impact.
Growing older doesn't mean that people have to lose their strength or their ability to do everyday tasks. Exercise can help older adults feel better and enjoy life more, even those who think they're too old or too out of shape.
Increasing strength and endurance make it easier to climb stairs and carry groceries. Improving balance helps prevent falls. Being more flexible may speed recovery from injuries. If you make exercise a regular part of your daily routine, it will have a positive impact on your quality of life as you get older.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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