Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Benefits Of Staying Active As You Age.

When you are young, you don't think about keeping yourself in shape so as you age, you'll reap the benefits.  It really doesn't start being a huge part of your thought process until you being to notice a few aches and pains along with a bit of stiffness.   My mother always claimed she was in great shape even though she slowed down, quit walking as far until she ended up in a walker.  I tried to get her into a regular exercise class but she always had an excuse such as "That class is for people who can't walk." or "I'm in good shape."  Honestly, she was always a slow walker and even with a walker, she was as slow as molasses in January.

The problem with not exercising or taking it easy is that it can lead to being older and not being able to take care of yourself.  Furthermore, the lack of exercise can also lead to more doctors visits, more visits to the hospital, and an increased need for medicines for a variety of illnesses.

Overall if you stay active by moving around and exercising, you'll keep and improve your strength, stay energetic while experiencing less fatigue, improve your balance so you fall less, help control or decrease certain diseases like diabetes 2, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc.  It also leads to a better nights sleep, better way of avoiding weight gain, reduces stress and anxiety, helps control your blood pressure, improves your mood, and has an effect on your cognitive functions. In addition, exercise has been shown to support both emotional and mental health. It has been found that exercise can help reduce both feelings of depression and stress while improving your mood at the same time. 

Specifically as we age,  bone density can decrease at the same time our ability to balance can also decrease.  If our balance is not as good anymore, it increases the odds of falling and possibly breaking bones. Exercising causes the bones to build more cells, increasing bone density. Furthermore, the lack of activity can also cause us to gain weight so continued activity can cause us to build muscles and burn more calories.  All of these things add up to letting you live independently for a longer period of time before having to move to an assisted living facility, climb stairs more easily with less probability of falling down, and stay more confident.  It also leads to better posture so you don't get the hunched over look but are able to stand upright. 

This is something you should start thinking about in your 20's rather than waiting until your 50's or 60's.  You want to continue building cells in the bone to keep your bone density up because you can lose bone density without being aware of it until you fall and either fracture or break a bone. In addition, it is important to integrate exercises specifically designed to improve balance.  Unfortunately, most people have a great workout containing aerobics, treadmills or weights but we seldom stand on one foot to work on maintaining our balance.

It is important to work on balance because balance helps maintain good posture, while strengthening certain parts of your body such as abdominal and leg muscles. If you suffer from poor posture, it can increase headaches, make you suffer from neck and back pain, along with hip and knee problems.  Balance also helps improve your coordination.  

If you are young, make sure you include exercises for preventing bone loss and helps with balance. If you are older, it is not too late to start but if you are not exercising regularly or are older, make sure you get the ok from your doctor to do this.  They might even have some specific recommendations for you.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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