Exercising with barbellsAge is just a number, what is really important is how we feel; but in order to feel our best, both physically and cognitively, physical activity is the key.

Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the likelihood of developing depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart conditions, stroke and other diseases or ailments. Yet many of us still aren’t getting enough. Here are some important facts everyone should know about the link between exercise and aging.

Exercise and Cognition

  • Exercise improves memory and cognition, warding off dementia. Strength training, particularly working the leg muscles, has been shown to have a strong impact on brain function and memory.
  • Seniors engaging in medium-to-high intensity exercise can slow brain aging by as much as 10 years.
  • Exercise helps alleviate depression and removes stress chemicals associated with stress-related depression from your body.

Exercise and Physical Health

When it comes to seniors and physical activity, research shows that many bodily changes attributed to aging are actually caused in large part by disuse; with one in three men and one in two women aged 75 or older engaging in no physical activity. This chart is a simple way of demonstrating the impact of aging on your body with and without exercise.

Effect of AgingEffect of Exercise
Resting Heart RateIncreaseDecrease
Maximum Heart RateDecreaseSlowed decrease
Blood PressureIncreaseDecrease
Bone StrengthDecreaseIncrease
Muscle Mass & StrengthDecreaseIncrease
LDL (Bad Cholesterol)IncreaseDecrease
HDL (Good Cholesterol)DecreaseIncrease

 

With these facts in mind, increasing one’s physical activity levels seems like a no brainer, but it’s always easier said than done. Finding the time, energy and motivation are often the biggest obstacles to starting an exercise regime. Here are some tips to overcome them.

  1. Schedule it into your day. Whether it is a bike ride, walk, workout at the gym or some other form of physical activity, write it down. This makes it “real” and you are less likely to renege on the activity.
  2. Start slow – the worst thing you can do is overdo it. End the workout on a good note, wanting more, feeling as though you could do more. This way you will not be overly strained or sore the next day and the motivation to continue will still be there.
  3. Enlist a friend to get active with you. Exercise is always more fun in the company of others and more than that, you will get the added mental boost of companionship and comradery.

Amintro is a social club designed exclusively for those 50+ looking to create new social circles or experience new opportunities. Find like-minded people in your area to kick-start a walking group, take a yoga class with or join a club. Sign up today at www.amintro.com.

And always remember, it’s never too early or too late to get moving!

 

By Christine Tompa