We live in a society where about 83 percent of the population will reach the age of 65, meaning people are consistently living longer lives. This not only means that we’re living longer, but that we’re all frantically searching for the Fountain of Youth to retain our youthful characteristics as long as possible
We all want to know what will make us look younger for the longest amount of time possible.
According to science, exercise can be the answer to the question we seek, or at least part of the answer. Regular physical activity is essential to your overall well-being, especially as you age.
According to a study published in PLOS One,
“Prior to the exercise training, the transcriptome profile showed a dramatic enrichment of genes associated with mitochondrial function with age. However, following exercise training the transcriptional signature of aging was markedly reversed back to that of younger levels for most genes that were affected by both age and exercise. We conclude that healthy older adults show evidence of mitochondrial impairment and muscle weakness, but that this can be partially reversed at the phenotypic level, and substantially reversed at the transcriptome level, following six months of resistance exercise training.”
Making the all-important choice to increase your physical activity will be the best thing you can do for yourself as you are aging.
It will help you age slower, maintain your energy level, and remain happier.
Here are some of the most important benefits of staying active as you age, along with some of the best forms of exercise for aging bodies.
Benefits of Staying Active As You Age
Studies have shown that at least three hours of exercise a week can drastically decrease the aging process and lead to the following benefits:
- Younger looking skin and reversal of the skin aging process
- Stronger bones and joints
- Strengthens the immune system to fight against illnesses and chronic diseases
- Improves balance and flexibility
- Provides a good night’s sleep which ultimately leads to less wrinkles
All these benefits help us to look and feel younger. Keep reading below to learn more!
Physical Health Benefits
It is common to accept physical decline as a normal part of aging. The fact is that if you are not involved in some form of physical activity on a daily basis, you will gradually lose your natural abilities, your health, and you will soon begin to look and feel old.
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to slow down physical aging.
It will help you maintain your independence as you age and increase your ability to live a life free of chronic disease, pain, and disability.
A well-rounded exercise regime will include strength training, cardiovascular exercise, balance exercises, and flexibility training.
The Canadian and American Physical Activity Guidelines state that we should accumulate 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every week. This amounts to about 21 minutes a day.
Read Also: Senior Wellness Tips
Brain Boosting Capabilities
Exercise leads to the release of endorphins in the brain that give you that natural high. It makes you feel good and promotes a healthy mental state. You can’t help but feel great and be energized when you exercise.
The endorphins also help keep your mind sharp. This is especially important because as we age, our mental capabilities may have a tendency to decline.
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Neurology,
“Several mechanisms have been suggested for explaining the benefits of physical activity (PA) in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Aerobic physical exercise (PE) activates the release of neurotrophic factors and promotes angiogenesis, thereby facilitating neurogenesis and synaptogenesis, which in turn improve memory and cognitive functions. Research has shown that the neuroprotective mechanisms induced by PE are linked to an increased production of superoxide dismutase, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, nerve growth factor, insulin-like growth factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor, and a reduction in the production of free radicals in brain areas such as the hippocampus, which is particularly involved in memory.”
Exercise helps you feel accomplished and gives you a higher sense of self-worth. With added physical activity, you will not only feel better, but look better too. That goes a long way towards promoting a positive mindset.
As we get older, we seem to take on more responsibilities and have longer to-do lists. All of this increases our stress levels.
Regular physical activity is a healthy way to relieve tension and help you manage stress. Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which has a positive effect on your emotional state.
Walking, running, gardening, dancing – even just 20 minutes of continuous exercise can have great benefits for your body and mind.
Something as simple as a daily walk can be a powerful stress-reduction technique. It is easy to do and available to all. Take your worries outdoors, find a pretty place and walk a while.
Exercise will also help get your mind off your concerns and daily pressures, it is a constructive method of releasing physical energy and emotional stress.
Look for simple ways to increase your daily physical activity and watch your stress levels drop.
See Also: Natural Remedies for Stress
Many women say that as they get older, they have more trouble achieving quality sleep. You may be thinking, how would exercise help me sleep better?
There are two reasons why exercise helps improve rejuvenating sleep.
As you exercise, your body temperature is raised. Then the body temperature naturally drops after a few hours. This drop in temperature helps promote sleep.
For this reason, it is better to exercise earlier in the day.
Exercising too close to bedtime will not give your body sufficient time to cool and unwind and be ready for sleep. Closer to bedtime, the best type of exercise is something relaxing like yoga or stretching.
The next reason is that exercise is a stressor of sorts – a beneficial stressor. The body has a way of compensating for this physical stress with deeper and longer sleep.
See Also: Best Melatonin Supplement for 2019
More Independent Feeling
Having strong bones and muscles will help you maintain your independence as you age. Imagine not being able to do the simplest tasks like opening a jar, bending down to pick something up, or even just getting out of bed on your own.
Doing weight-bearing exercises will help keep you strong and maintain your bone density. Weight training, walking, hiking, dancing are all great forms of weight- bearing exercise.
As you exercise, you will also remain more flexible and maintain a better sense of balance – two very important aspects of physical independence.
Love the Scale
Being physically active will help keep your weight in check. Through exercise, you will be expending calories that will not get stored as dreaded body fat.
In addition, exercise has a way of increasing your metabolism, which tends to slow down as you age.
Heart disease, diabetes, most cancers and obesity can be attributed to carrying excess weight. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight in your 40’s and beyond will help keep disease at bay.
Related Reading: How to Lose Weight After 50
How to Stay Active As You Age
There are a variety of different ways you can stay active as you age. Here are a few of the best examples:
Try These Types of Exercise
As you begin aging, you don’t want to stop exercising. Instead, you might want to try to exercise more than ever! Exercising has anti-aging properties, which will keep your body feeling fresh and youthful. Here are a few types of exercise you can try do reduce the effects of aging:
Resistance Band Exercises
If you are new to exercising or resistance training, a great place to start is with resistance band exercises. Resistance badnd exercise are not as intense as other types of strength training, but they are great for improving your muscles and joints as you build a foundation of strength and a healthy body.
Even as a professional basketball player, I do a ton of resistance band exercises.
If you would like to give resistance band exercises a try, you could buy this set and use them at home:
High Intensity Interval Training
If you are relatively active and looking to increase your physical activity to develop a truly strong and healthy body, High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT is the best exercise for anti-aging. The training involves high intensity training followed by an interval of low output training, such as in the Tabata Interval training method.
This alternation allows our bodies to reach an anaerobic state which increases the capacity of mitochondria and ribosomes.
These organelles deteriorate as we get older, but through HIIT, they work harder and stay healthier to work against signs of aging.
HIIT exercises are pretty flexible, but here are some that you can do daily to keep your body young and healthy.
Another option of HIIT is you can create your own circuit routine but for beginners you may want to try three rounds of bodyweight exercises such as push ups, squats, butt kicks, and lunges.
Then end each round with either a minute walk or by stretching your muscles.
Cycling and Swimming
Another great and entertaining way to exercise while aging is to alternate between fast paced cycling or swimming with moderate rides and swims.
Do five minutes of intense cycling on a stationary bike, and then slow done. For a swim, do a high-intensity lap followed by a slower, relaxed swim.
These exercises will keep you in shape while also reducing your fight with aging.
Cycling and swimming are great because they are low-impact exercises, which takes a lot of strain off your joints.
Join an Adult Day Care
Yes, you heard that right. Adult day care is built on the same beliefs as children day care. You leave your loved one at the center, they engage themselves throughout the day, and come back in the evening.
The Adult Day Care program is designed for seniors to enjoy their day with activities, food, and health care support. It also allows seniors to interact with others and make new friends.
The program is beneficial for those who can’t look after themselves and require care. Most of the programs have collaborated with other agencies for transportation and medical centers.
Adult day care centers can also include counselling, education, recreation, supervision, medication management, and even evening care.
Today there are more than 5000 adult day care programs in the USA with over 250,000 seniors!
Types of Adult Day Care
There are three different types of adult day care that you will come across with.
- Social – The primary purpose is to meet new people and engage yourself in different activities. You get nutritious meals and medical service also.
- Medical – Along with the daily interaction, you get health and therapeutic services, which can be like health monitoring, physical therapy, disease management, and many more.
- Specialized – Some of the centers are also specialized in treating people with severe conditions like Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
How to Choose the Best Adult Day Care
Often, choosing the best adult day care for parents or grandparents is the most challenging task. You want them to enjoy the best of their time, you need to weigh the pros and cons of every program, determine whether your time is matching with theirs, and whether they have the services you are looking forward to.
But before that, you need to ask some questions to feel secure. Here’s what you should ask the staff before finalizing the your adult day care choice:
- How do you keep the seniors safe?
- What is the daily cost?
- Are there any separate expenses such as lunch fees?
- Are there daily schedules set in place? Can I see them?
- Is there a nurse on hand?
- Can the staff take care of citizens with health problems?
- Are there any emergency plans prepared?
These are a few additional questions that you should ask yourself before making a contract.
- Was the facility clean?
- Did you and your loved one feel welcome?
- Were the seniors treated well?
- Is the furniture comfortable?
- Were there enough staff members to take care of the seniors?
For example, Skylark Adult Day Care Center specializes in personalized senior care. It allows the freedom to live independently. The program is developed according to the person’s needs.
Whether you are interested in music or fitness, you can also enjoy and learn the technology-based games so that can later help you mingle up with your grandchildren.
Even if you are someone who lives just with your spouse, the Skylar adult day care center provides affordable senior care options ranging from long term care insurance to veterans’ administrative programs.
Services Available at Adult Day Care
Social Activities – Planned activities according to the person’s interest. Bowling, indoor golf, motor exercise, art programs, and many more.
Transportation–To and from the center.
Health Services – The program is registered with the nurse and doctor who provide heart-related services, including chronic conditions.
Nutrition – The program provides nutritional meals, snacks, and diet.
Benefits of Adult Day Care
Even if the caregivers feel guilty about leaving their loved ones into day care, studies have found that this has helped to increase the recipient’s overall behaviour. The following are benefits you get from the adult day care.
- It allows him or her to stay in his or her community while the caregiver goes to work
- It gives him or her a break from the caregiver
- It provides needed social interaction
- It gives an enormous structure to his or her daily activities
Age-Related Health Problems You Can Overcome Through Staying Active
As we age, our body’s defense mechanisms are constantly weakened. Over time, the body becomes exposed and defenseless to all kinds of health risks; most notably age-related ailments.
Some of these ailments are avoidable if you consistently engage in physical exercise on a regular basis. Although we cannot completely protect ourselves from all diseases by exercising, physical training can help to reduce the magnitude of ailments when they attack our body system and manage health for those already infected with issues.
With advancing age, the body progressively loses the ability to digest the food consumed. Not being able to digest food properly results in a person suffering pain, and uncomfortable experiences as food remain in the body longer than necessary.
The best way to avoid these conditions is to eat a healthy balanced diet at all times. If you eat healthily, your body will almost always work how it is supposed to- as it digests the food in an organized and predictive manner.
Along with this, regular abdominal exercises come in handy in making sure that the stomach area remains active and healthy.
Exercises such as planks are tremendous for strengthening your core and enabling your digestive system to work properly.
Mental Health Issues
It is well- known that some people will develop mental problems with age. These problems include loss of memory, inability to hold sensible conversations, and potentially even Alzheimer’s Disease.
The thought that one day you might suffer amnesia or the Alzheimer’s Disease is quite nerve-wracking. Although some preventive methods are complicated to understand without the help of a specialist, there are other methods that one can effectively employ without much difficulty.
For instance, if you constantly take brain exercises such as games and memory tests, you can greatly reduce the risk of suffering such diseases!
Limb Malfunctions and Joint Problems
A frequently asked question is how a person can overcome limb malfunctions and joint problems through exercise. Many people believe that the body automatically fails as a person ages.
However, this is not true at all. For most people, the body fails due to lack of exercise and constant physical training of all body parts.
Take time to walk and perform different exercise routines, and you will have an excellent chance of ensuring your limbs are active and healthy regardless of your age!
Sight and Hearing Problems
The ability to see and hear properly is reduced progressively with time, especially as a person ages. Macular degeneration and cataracts mostly cause sight problems, and the remedy for such ailments has to be professional and advanced.
However, in many cases, you can avoid developing these ailments by protecting your eyes and ears from elements that could damage them.
Also, exercising your eyesight and hearing ability helps in maintaining these body parts to be healthy and in good working condition.
If you eat a proper diet and live a naturally healthy life, there is a good chance that you will sustain your sight and hearing for longer!
Cardiovascular Diseases & Heart Problems
Older individuals are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases compared to the younger ones for many reasons.
These cardiovascular diseases are mainly due to the accumulation of excess muscles around important body parts such as the heart. The body parts on older individuals are squeezed and cannot perform their duties properly, and at times they completely collapse.
Fortunately, this is one problem that is easy to contain and avoid.
Just a basic amount of exercise each day can help you avoid cardiovascular diseases! Walking and other cardiovascular exercises ensure that one can eliminate excess muscles and unnecessary body fat, giving the body enough space and flexibility to perform effectively. Fasted state walking is an excellent way to avoid cardiovascular disease with age.
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How to Stay Active with a Heart Condition
More than 610,000 Americans die every year from heart disease. Conditions such as coronary and peripheral artery disease, hypertension, and heart attack are the most common cardiovascular conditions found in men and women.
A sedentary lifestyle and poor diet choices are responsible for this growing health epidemic. While heart disease is a chronic health disorder, it’s possible to slow its progression and extend longevity with changes to meal plans and regular exercise.
Speak to your doctor about implementing a light exercise regimen into your daily routine. Always exercise within your physical limits. Placing strain on your cardiovascular system after surgery has disastrous consequences that land you back on the surgeon’s table if you overdo it too soon.
Listen to your body and avoid exercising if you feel stiff or sore after the previous exercise session. Recovery from exercise is the most critical component of working out safely. Start your exercise routine with low-intensity. Light walks on the treadmill or around the garden are ideal ways to raise your heart rate.
Gradually build up your distance and intensity over the first 4-weeks. Note your improvements in a journal. A training diary is a useful tool to track your recovery and your exercise progress.
Take note of your feeling of well-being after the training session and the following day. The journal provides your doctor with a written account of your efforts and helps them identify the source of any problems.
If you experience any chest pain, heart palpitations, or shortness of breath during exercise, stop the session immediately. Call your doctor and ask them for their advice, they may require you to visit their office for an examination. Carry a carry a medical alert device while you’re exercising in case of an emergency.
For the first 6-weeks after your surgery, you need to make steady improvements to your cardiovascular health. Start by walking for 5-minutes a day during the first week. Add 5-minutes every week and increase the distance as you progress.
By the end of 6 weeks, you should be able to walk for 30-minutes at a steady pace without feeling tired.
At the end of the 6-week period, it’s time to step it up a gear. Visit your doctor for another checkup and take your training journal with you. Your doctor will analyze your results and let you know if you’re ready to increase your training effort.
If your physician approves of your progress, ask them about adding a resistance training program to your training regimen.
Start with a bodyweight exercise routine that includes push-ups and squats. Start with something light, such as three sets of 5-repetitions for each exercise. Add 2 repetitions every other day until you achieve 10-reps per set. When you’re comfortable, add in another until you can do 4-sets of 10 reps in total. After utilizing bodyweight exercises for a while, you can begin with light weight training.
Concluding Thoughts – Remaining Active While Aging
Once you begin to experience the many health benefits that exercise provides, I know that it will motivate you to continue to challenge yourself in new and wonderful ways.
If you follow the tips and guidelines listed here, I am confident you will notice the benefits of staying active while aging!
Disclaimer: If you have not exercised for some time or if you have health concerns such as heart trouble, high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity, talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.