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What Exercise Can Do For You

Exercise for Seniors

Most people know that exercise is good for them. Somehow, though, older adults have been left out of the picture - until recently.

Golfing for Exercise

Today a new picture is emerging from research: Older people of different physical conditions have much to gain from exercise and from staying physically active. They also have much to lose if they become physically inactive.

Elliptical Machine for Exercise Exercise isn't just for older adults in the younger age range, who live independently and are able to go on brisk jogs, although this is for them, too.

Researchers have found that exercise and physical activity also can improve the health of people who are 90 or older, who are frail, or who have the diseases that seem to accompany aging.

Staying physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people grow older. In some cases, it can improve health for older people who already have diseases and disabilities, if it's done on a long-term, regular basis.

What Kinds of Activities Improve Health and Ability?

Strong and flexible senior

Four types of exercises help older adults gain health benefits:

  • Endurance exercises increase your breathing and heart rate. They improve the health of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Having more endurance not only helps keep you healthier; it can also improve your stamina for the tasks you need to do to live and do things on your own - climbing stairs and grocery shopping, for example. Endurance exercises also may delay or prevent many diseases associated with aging, such as diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, stroke, and others, and reduce overall death and hospitalization rates.
  • Strength exercises build your muscles, but they do more than just make you stronger. They give you more strength to do things on your own. Even very small increases in muscle can make a big difference in ability, especially for frail people. Strength exercises also increase your metabolism, helping to keep your weight and blood sugar in check. That's important because obesity and diabetes are major health problems for older adults. Studies suggest that strength exercises also may help prevent osteoporosis.
  • Balance exercises help prevent a common problem in older adults: falls. Falling is a major cause of broken hips and other injuries that often lead to disability and loss of independence. Some balance exercises build up your leg muscles; others require you to do simple activities like briefly standing on one leg.
  • Flexibility exercises help keep your body limber by stretching your muscles and the tissues that hold your body's structures in place. Physical therapists and other health professionals recommend certain stretching exercises to help patients recover from injuries and to prevent injuries from happening in the first place. Flexibility also may play a part in preventing falls.

Fact: More than two-thirds of older adults don't engage in regular physical activity.

Yet Another Reason to Keep Exercising

Studies show that the blood of people who exercise on a regular basis is less prone to clot (i.e. heart attack) than those who don't exercise. Exercise seems to boost the body's natural clot busters. There's no need to exercise daily, but be consistent at an exercise plan. The clot preventing benefits disappeared when the regular exercise program stopped.

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Disclaimer: The material on this Web site is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or fitness professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program or fat or weight reduction program. FitnessandFreebies.com takes no responsibility for individual results, or any claim made by a third party.