Physical activity should remain prevalent

Published Jun 24, 2018 at 9:00am

Aging is a natural part of life. As we age, we become more accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle.

Inactivity comes with many complications that can shorten a lifetime, some activity is better than no activity. Regular physical activity is necessary to prevent muscle loss and reduce pre-existing health problems. The CDC states that by age 75, about one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity. Staying active at every age is the best way to stay healthy. 

According to the CDC, older adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week. Going for a walk or light jog is beneficial for this age group.

Aerobic activity is when breathing and heart rate increases. A simple activity such as mowing the lawn or riding a bike, counts. Taking a stroll in the mall 30 minutes a day each week can also decrease a sedentary lifestyle.

Older adults should gradually increase the intensity of their workouts to prevent the risk of injury. It is wise to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program or to determine if an exercise is appropriate. 

There are many benefits linked to physical activity, especially for this age group. Following an exercise plan will help your overall health and well-being. More specifically, it can decrease the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Physical activity can help strengthen bones and prevent bone fractures. For those with hypertension, physical activity can significantly lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Another benefit of physical activity is it reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression, and improves mood. Many elderly individuals struggle with depression due to lack of contact with people and living a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise can also relieve joint pain and swelling by improving stamina and muscle strength. 

As a community, we can help older adults become more active.

Providing easily accessible programs within the community such as aerobic, strength and flexibility classes targeting older adults is a great start.

Providing transportation or having classes in locations that are easy accessible enhances the desire to get active. Being active has important and positive impacts on the older generations. Get out and get active.