As a society, we’ve accepted the idea of older people not exercising regularly. In the US, only 16.2% of Americans aged 50-64 exercise regularly, and only 8.2% do the recommended levels of exercise, including aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
Many experts argue that age is just an excuse, not a barrier when it comes to not exercising in your older days. However, CDC recommends that regular exercise for older people can help in achieving loads of health benefits. Moreover, this exercise doesn’t need to be strenuous to be effective.
So, is age really just an excuse for not exercising? Let’s debunk the common myth and explain why and how older people should exercise regularly!
Why Age Is Just an Excuse
Many people believe that losing strength and stamina is a side effect of aging. However, it’s caused in large part by the reduction in physical activity. As we grow older, this inactivity tends to increase. According to CDC, by the age of 75, 1 in 3 men and 1 in 2 women engage in no physical activity.
Of course, you can’t work out the same way you used to when you were younger. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up exercising and fitness altogether as you grow older.
How Lack of Exercise Aggravates Problems
Research shows that physical inactivity can significantly alter your body composition, increasing your percentage of body fat. In addition, physical inactivity combined with aging leads to skeletal muscle atrophy. Physical inactivity also aggravates the risk of chronic diseases.
Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults
However, regular physical activities can reduce the risk of falls and chronic diseases. Furthermore, it can improve mental health as well as emotional, social, and psychological well-being and cognitive functions.
In fact, an active lifestyle for older people can also lead to decreased cardiovascular mortality. The benefits of regular exercise at old age are far too many to ignore.
Moreover, the recommended exercise for older people isn’t strenuous. According to CDC, senior people only need 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (30 minutes, five days a week).
CDC also recommends that people with chronic conditions who may not be able to exercise this much should instead focus on being as physically active as their conditions allow. This means older adults should sit less and move more throughout the day.
Why Older People Need Active Living
Most older people choose not to exercise due to fear of injury. There’s no denying that osteoarthritis and body pain issues can be common for many older adults. However, the reality is that exercise can help with these conditions once you overcome your fear.
At Helping Hands, we ensure active living for seniors with our physical therapy programs that help seniors recover from injury or chronic pain through physical therapy. In addition, our physical therapy treatments in Augusta, GA are designed to help with a multitude of conditions that seniors commonly face.