The Benefits of Staying Active
Staying active is hard, especially as an older adult. We look into some healthy activities to do at home and the benefits of staying active in your later years.
Health problems and joint issues can take their toll, and reduce your capacity for vigorous physical activity, which is a big problem – especially when you consider that less than 21% of Americans of all ages meet the 2008 physical activity guidelines, as set forth by the CDC.
As we continue to age, the likelihood of physical inactivity continues to rise.
Maintaining a healthy body and mind
However, physical activity is crucial to maintaining a healthy body and mind.
The old adage of “Use it, or lose it” is never so true as it is when applied to your physical wellness.
Maintaining a good level of physical activity is key to preventing a host of poor health outcomes, and has healthy, positive effects on the brain that can boost mood and help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Let’s take a deeper look at the benefits of staying active & the effects of physical activity on the body and mind, and go over some simple recommendations about how to meet recommended physical activity guidelines.
We’ll end with a look at some helpful YouTube fitness workouts that can help you stay active – even if you’re stuck at home.
How Does Physical Activity Improve Health?
In just about every way possible. After all, human beings were built to move, be active, and do things – not just sit around watching TV, or putter around the house.
As far as simple physical well being, increased activity levels can help reduce the risk of a tremendous amount of diseases that typically affect the elderly, including:
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
Heart disease and heart failure
Other positive benefits of physical activity
Extended physical activity and living a healthy lifestyle can also have a host of positive benefits for both body and mind, including:
Increased cognitive capability
Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
Lower risk of falls
Higher levels of physical fitness and capability
Increase ability to recollect and remember information
Better muscle tone
Reduced muscle loss from Sarcopenia
Increased bone strength
As you can see, the positive benefits of exercise and physical activity are staggering – in fact, physical activity is the #1 way in which people of all ages can increase their lifespan.
Even leisure-time, low-intensity exercise has been shown to extend lifespans by an average of 4.5 years!
How Much Time Should I Spend Exercising?
Great question. The WHO (World Health Organization) suggests at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity – or a combination of both.
However, additional health benefits are gained by performing more aerobic activity.
For maximum results, 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity are recommended, or 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity.
For maximum results, that works out to about 45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day – or just over 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity.
That’s not that much time out of your schedule, especially if you’re retired and the rewards & benefits of staying active are too big to ignore!
What Are The Best Ways To Exercise?
Anything that gets you moving! However, if you’re looking for a list of activities, there are plenty of resources out there – and we’ll touch on a couple simple activities you can partake in below.
Moderate intensity exercises
Light weight resistance training
Playing with grandkids
Water aerobics classes
A moderate-intensity exercise is any exercise in which you feel as if you’re working hard and breaking a sweat, but are still able to maintain a conversation – but not sing.
Running or jogging
Hiking uphill, or with a heavy load
Vigorous exercise is defined by a heavier exertion
A 7-8 on an intensity scale of 10 – and an inability to say more than a few word at once, as you’ll be breathing very heavily.
Three Great At-Home Workouts To Get You Moving
If you’re still at a loss as to where to begin, we’ve got just the thing.
These three videos will give you example workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home, even if you have some joint problems and have difficulty performing high-intensity physical activities like running….
15 Minute Senior Workout – Low Impact Exercises for Seniors Elderly Men & Women Older Adults
This 15-minute fitness workout by HASfit is a great place to start. The exercises are simple and easy-to-follow, and this workout doesn’t require any extra equipment to get started.
60-minute Sample Workout for Older Adults from Go4Life
If you’re looking for a longer, more high-intensity workout, this video by the National Institute on Aging is great.
It’s a 60 minute workout, and will require somewhat more gear than the previous video – a stable chair, light hand weights, a tennis ball, and a towel.
17 Min Chair Exercises for Seniors & Beginners – HASfit Senior Exercises for the Elderly Workout
If you have health problems that make it hard for you to stay upright and follow along with any of the above programs, this chair-based workout by HASfit is a fantastic resource.
Simple, easy-to follow instructions and surprisingly vigorous exercises make this chair workout a good place to start….
As you can see the benefits of staying active are huge! So what are you waiting for!?! It’s time to get moving!
Grab an Infographic of 12 of these exercises to print & read through with a cuppa…
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Please note: If you feel unwell whilst doing any type of exercise, stop immediately and consult with a medical professional immediately.