Exercise is not only important for your physical health – it also helps maintain cognitive function.
Your brain is no different than rest of the muscles in your body – you either use it or you lose it. Think about it this way. The benefits of athletic training and physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, have positive effects on brain function on multiple fronts, ranging from the molecular to behavioral level. According to a study by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions.
Beginning or maintaining an exercise routine can be a challenge as you get older. You may feel discouraged by illness, ongoing health problems or concerns about injuries or falls. Or, if you’ve never exercised before, you may not know where to begin.
While these may seem like good reasons to slow down and take it easy as you age, they’re actually even better reasons to get moving. Exercise can release endorphins that make you feel happier, relieve stress, help you manage symptoms of illness and pain, and improve your overall sense of well-being. In fact, exercise is the key to staying strong, energetic and healthy as you get older.
If there is one thing that I’ve learned from my 30 years of owning and operating Fitness for Health, a state-of-the-art, therapeutic fitness facility helping people of ALL ages and abilities reach their full potential, it is that, as you age, regular exercise is more important than ever to your body and mind. And, it can be fun!
Physical health benefits of exercise and fitness over 65:
- Exercise reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease. Among the many benefits of exercise for adults over 65 include improved immune function, better heart health and blood pressure and better bone density. In fact, Fitness for Health offers bioDensity training which, in just a few minutes a week, helps improve bone strength in seniors. People who exercise also have a lowered risk of several chronic conditions including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
- Exercise enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance in adults over 65. Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Mental health benefits of exercise and fitness over 65:
- Exercise boosts mood and self-confidence. Seniors have a higher rate of depression. Endorphins produced by exercise can actually help you feel better and reduce feelings of sadness. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident and improves your self-image.
- Exercise is good for the brain. Exercise benefits regular brain functions and can help keep the brain active, which can prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Any exercise that gets the heart pumping may reduce the risk of dementia and slow the condition’s progression once it starts, reports a Mayo Clinic study published in October 2011 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
As you age, staying active mentally is just as important as staying active physically. At Fitness for Health, we can help you achieve both. Our unique approach to senior wellness focuses on helping you strengthen and maintain the skills that other workouts often overlook – such as visual motor skills, bone and joint health, mental processing, motor planning, and motor sequencing (the ability to take information, process it, plan your next actions, and implement those actions with the goal of keeping your mind and body working together).