5 Reasons Why Moving More Is Key to Healthy Aging

  • People aged 65 and older should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity each week to achieve optimal health.
  • Regular physical activities such as walking, taking the stairs, mowing the lawn and even cleaning your house, can boost energy and lower your risks of injury.
  • Being active not only strengthens your joints and muscles, but also improves your mental health and social life. 

Sure, age is just a number. But as you reach your golden years, we should be gunning for the number 150. This refers to the length of time (in minutes) that people aged 65+ should be clocking in on moderate to intense physical activity to get the heart pumping a bit as well as for optimal health.

The good news is, it doesn’t cost a thing. No need to enroll in the gym or be a pro athlete to achieve that goal. Such activities can be as simple as taking a walk, or looking into local hiking trails with your partner. Incorporating these small bouts of physical activity to your daily life will enliven you and make you less vulnerable to injury and other health problems. Here are 5 ways that explain how the simple act of moving more can help older adults age better.

1. Moving more gives good balance

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Research published by the World Health Organization found that about a third of people from age 65 and beyond are likely to experience falls at least twice a year. Even a small stumble can result in post-fall syndrome, a severe complication of falls in older adults characterized by broken bones, reduced mobility and anxiety. Getting active however cuts your risks of serious falls. Physical activities help build muscle and toughen supporting ligaments which in turn improves balance and strength, keeping you steady on your feet. Make sure too that you’re wearing appropriate footwear for the physical activity you’re participating in.

2. Getting active ups your social game

As we get older, maintaining healthy social ties becomes more challenging. But doing physical activities with others is a sure-fire way of meeting new friends and having fun while improving your mobility. Besides social bonding, research suggests that when you get moving, you’ll feel more active and alive! Good options for older adults looking to improve their social life include group activities like pickleball, tai chi, or dancing.

3. Getting active can hone your mental sharpness  

A recent report predicts that cognitive decline and dementia will affect roughly 1.4-million people by 2031. This adds to the challenges posed on the seniors and their families who are directly affected but will also cost our healthcare system in excess of $16-billion.

This is when physical activity enters the picture. Because the brain is involved in everything we do, exercise can enhance brain cell growth and also benefits the hippocampus, the brain region responsible for memory, learning and focus.

4. Active joints promote healthy joints

The joint is surrounded by a soft tissue called the synovial membrane, which produces a thick liquid that acts as a lubricant to lower friction between the bones during movement and to cushion the ends of the bones.

Physical activities, particularly water aerobics, help boost the circulation of this fluid which helps alleviate joint pain and stiffness. Water exercise puts less stress on your joints and more resistance on your muscles while relieving joint pain and mobility.

5. An active life promotes independence

Your chances of living an independent life grow as you get more active. Moving more allows you to do the things you love to do as well as those you don’t, as in the case of household chores. Signing up in a bowling team, a mall-walking group or cross-country skiing at the local park are some great activities that give you the chance to meet others in your community, while improving your overall well-being and quality of life. 

Source: Reader’s Digest

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