Physical activity is important for older Americans because it can help improve their overall health and well-being. As people age, their metabolism slows down and they may become less active, which can lead to weight gain and increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes,etc. Keeping active may help prevent or manage chronic diseases, as well as improve mood, cognitive function, and sleep quality. Some additional benefits include:
- Maintaining or improving physical function: Regular physical activity can help older adults maintain or improve their ability to perform everyday activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, and carrying groceries.
- Chronic disease prevention.
- Improved mental health: Exercise has been shown to positively affect mood and cognitive function, and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
- Keeping active will lead to a better sleep pattern and thus reduce the risk of sleep disorders or insomnia.
- As people age, their metabolism slows down and they may become less active, which can lead to weight gain. Regular physical activity can help older adults maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduced risk of falling since exercise can improve balance and coordination.
Older Americans should aim to get regular exercise as part of their daily routine. The type and intensity of physical activity older people should do will depend on their current health status, fitness level, and personal preferences.
So, what types of physical activity should older adults do? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults should aim for a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility exercises, and balance exercises.
Strength training is important for maintaining muscle mass and bone density, which can help prevent falls and fractures. Older adults should do strength training exercises at least twice a week, using weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises such as push-ups or squats.
Flexibility exercises are important for maintaining range of motion and preventing injury. Examples of flexibility exercises include stretching, yoga, or tai chi, and should be done at least two to three times a week.
Finally, balance exercises are important for reducing the risk of falls, which can be particularly dangerous for older adults. Balance exercises can include standing on one foot, walking heel-to-toe, or using a balance board, and should be done at least two to three times a week.