Among the many things people can do to stay healthy, exercise is one of the most important, especially for older adults. Regular exercise can reduce the risk for serious injurious falls in people age 65 years and older.
Exercise or regular physical activity is a good idea for anyone of any age. As people age, it becomes essential to maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints. The loss of strength or stamina attributed to aging is in part caused by lack of physical activity as people age.
It’s no secret that inactivity increases with age, and by age 75, about one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Weak muscles, bones and joints can make it more difficult to perform routine tasks and live independently.
Physical activity or exercise improves mobility and strengthens muscles, which enhances a person’s balance, reduces the risk of falling and improves the ability to perform routine tasks. Older adults who are physically active may also have lower rates of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Although the benefits are clear, sometimes the biggest challenge can be fitting in physical activity or exercise into your daily routine. For older adults who are currently inactive start slowly and set a target or goal.
Older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week, according to the World Health Organization. Recommended types of physical activity include leisure time actives, like walking, dancing, gardening, hiking, and swimming.
You should talk to your physician before beginning any exercise program. To find a primary care physician in your area, visit www.piedmont.org.