Physical fitness and seniors may look different than a younger generation, but it is no less important.  The inherent benefits of exercise don’t disappear as we age.  In fact, in many ways they increase.

Physical Fitness

Boomers have been taught the value of regular exercise since the ’70s, but our parents may not consider a work-out regimen valuable at all.  Even if your mother has maintained her girlish figure while remaining relatively sedentary, as she ages she will benefit regular a gentle, yet consistent, physical fitness program.

Walking, yoga and simple balance sequences add variety and excitement to your parent’s daily routine.  As little as 30 minutes a day, four days a week, can:

Increase Metabolism

Metabolism is the process your body uses to make and burn energy from food. While we understand that a boost in metabolism results in burning calories more efficiently, resulting in weight loss, it is actually a lot more comprehensive than that!  We rely on our metabolism to breathe, think, digest, circulate blood, and regulate body temperature. Even seniors who don’t battle with their weight often suffer from chills, indigestion or forgetfulness — all signs of a slow metabolism.

Improve Immune System

Scientifically speaking, our immune system preserves the integrity of the body by fighting off foreign environmental agents.  In laymen’s terms, it kills off germs and infections that make us sick.  As we age, the amount of B and T cells produced by the thyroid and bone marrow can decrease. B and T cells enhance our natural defenses against unhealthy bacteria.  Regular exercise also promotes good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body and do their job more efficiently.

Reduce Fall Risks

Falls are the number one cause of injury — both debilitating and fatal — in older people.  While myriad factors may contribute to falls, including poor vision or medicinal side effects, falls due to dizziness or poor balance can be easily reduced or eliminated by regular exercise.

Boost Self Esteem

Research proves that nearly 40 percent of seniors in long-term care suffer from depression.  A Yale University study shows depression can physically change a person’s brain, speeding susceptibility to illnesses.  Regular exercise may help ease depression and anxiety by increasing the release endorphins.  Additional contributing factors to depression are isolation and loneliness.  Joining an exercise group or meeting up with a partner to exercise can provide companionship to help fight depression.

Getting Started

After securing medical clearance for your parent to launch an exercise regimen, help him to get started.  Starting slow is the perfect way to build an exercise habit and setting attainable goals makes it fun.  A group class or work-out partnership is ideal, but if that is not reasonable, download some new books or old favorites on an audio-book app for them.

It is simple to integrate gentle, enjoyable exercise into your parent’s day.  Relieving yourself from worrying about your parent’s health will make you happier, healthier as well!

If you would like to learn more about our physical fitness activites, give us a call we would love to talk with you.