The benefits of exercising and remaining active are enormous. Some benefits include decreased risk of heart disease, improved diabetic control, decreased bone density loss, improved stability and decreased risk of falls. Exercise can also improve sleep, decrease the rate of depression, improve short-term memory, and help with weight management.
Modern physical activity is often limited to mowing the grass, pulling weeds, or walking down the grocery store aisle. In order to remain active, older adults have to search out activities that interest them and then figure out how to fit those activities into their schedule. Then comes the hardest part: mustering up the motivation to actually do it.
Muscle strength declines by 15 percent per decade after age 50 and 30 percent per decade after age 70. The more muscle you have as you enter your golden years, the more likely it is you will remain healthy as you age. A Framingham Disability Study demonstrated that 45 percent of women older than 65 years, and 65 percent of women older than 75 years cannot lift ten pounds. This makes it very difficult to manage household tasks, such as carrying a bag of groceries, cleaning your house thoroughly, or organizing your belongings.
Even if you have never exercised regularly, there are huge benefits to beginning exercise. Non-exercisers who start doing small amounts of exercise receive the greatest health benefits. As activity becomes easier, it is important to gradually increase duration and intensity. Up to one-third of age-related decline in aerobic capacity can be reversed with prolonged (six months or more) aerobic training.
For more information on how to safely remain active as you age, please call our Information and Assistance Team at (408)350-3200, option 1.