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Why Regular Exercise is Important for Adults Over the Age of 50

As people age, it is more important for them to maintain an active lifestyle.  Exercising regularly will help boost energy, promote independence and limit pain and illnesses.  In some cases, exercise may even help reverse some of the symptoms associated with aging.  Exercise is good for physical health, but it is also very powerful for maintaining mental health and memory.  Whether a person is managing an illness or is healthy, there are several ways to boost fitness, improve confidence and become more active.

It can be challenging to start and maintain an exercise routine as a person ages.  Some people feel discouraged by physical limitations or illnesses, and some may have concerns about falls or other injuries.  If a person has never used an exercise routine regularly before, he or she may not even know where to begin.  Another reason aging people do not exercise enough is that they believe they are too frail or too old, which is not true.

All of these may seem like legitimate reasons to take it easy or just slow down, but they are actually the best reasons to get up and get moving.  Exercise will relieve stress, enhance mood and help a person maintain better overall health and well-being.  Despite what some people think, exercise can be fun as well.  Regardless of current age or physical condition, any person can benefit from exercise.  This does not require trips to the gym or strenuous workouts.  The most important part of any exercise routine is adding movement to life even if only in a small way.  There are several different ways to do this.  Before beginning any exercise program or for suggestions, every person should talk to his or her doctor to ensure the best program for individual needs is chosen.

Physical Health Benefits

Exercise helps aging adults lose or maintain their weight.  A person’s metabolism slows down with age, so it becomes more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.  Exercise will increase metabolism and helps build muscle mass, which contributes to burning more calories.  If a person’s body is at a healthy weight, his or her overall wellness will improve.

Regular exercise reduces the likelihood of contracting chronic diseases, and it also reduces the impact existing chronic diseases have.  Some of the health benefits of exercise for adults over the age of 50 include better blood pressure, better heart health, improved immune function, better digestive functioning and better bone density.  Regular exercise lowers the risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer and obesity.

Exercise improves flexibility, mobility and balance.  It can contribute to better posture and improved strength.  Aging adults who use strength training will also see alleviated symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis.

Mental Health Benefits

One of the main benefits of physical exercise is improved sleep.  Many aging adults suffer from the effects of poor or inadequate sleep.  Regular exercise helps adults fall asleep faster and helps them sleep deeper.

Exercise benefits the brain.  It enhances regular functions and helps keep a person’s mind active, which contributes to memory retention.  This means a person is less likely to see cognitive decline or dementia.  Experts say that regular exercise may even reduce depression and sadness.  When a person is active and feels stronger, this also helps boost self confidence.

Choose Exercises You Enjoy

There are several ways for aging adults to make exercise a more enjoyable part of the day.  Make activities that are enjoyable a main part of the routine.  The following are some helpful suggestions:

 

            -Listen to music while walking or lifting weights

            -Be competitive when playing sports such as tennis.

            -Take photographs while hiking.

            -Window shop when walking laps at a mall.

            -Watch a movie while using a treadmill.

            -Meet new people and make friends at a yoga class.

            -Talk to a friend while stretching, walking or strength training.

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