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Stay Active to Reduce the Risk of Falling: 5 Exercises to Keep You Fit

Did you know that over 33 percent of people older than 65, fall each year? As people age, the risk of falling increases and so does the fear of having a fall-related accident. Part of that fear prevents many from engaging in physical activities.  Rather than avoiding an active lifestyle, there are strategic, smart ways to stay active while decreasing your chances of falling. In this article, we’ll discuss a few fall prevention exercises that can strengthen your body, while improving your coordination and balance.

Senior Woman Holding Fitness Sign With Family In Background

3 Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

It’s no secret that seniors tend to fall into the trap of a sedentary lifestyle. This happens because most of them are disillusioned with the direction their well-being is headed towards. Nevertheless, getting back on your feet has incredible benefits on that front. Contrary to popular belief, it’s never too late to start exercising again.

When you pass a certain point in life, sedentarism almost becomes a given. Few people actually keep being active once they retire because they believe the resting promotes good health. However, that’s only half true. While it’s important to relax and recover, it’s also equally essential to stay fit.

Therefore, a steady exercise routine should be kept up even when you’re well into your sixties, seventies, eighties and so on. Here are the three most important reasons why seniors should work out at least 30 minutes a day.

1. Disease Prevention

When it comes to senior exercise, misconceptions run amok. The most common myth surrounding the concept is that taking up a workout routine later in life is pointless. Many people over the age of 60 think that there’s no point in trying to prolong their lifespan after they’ve passed a certain point. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, plenty of illnesses characteristic to old age can be prevented through regular physical activity. These include heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and arthritis, to name but a few. And even if you’re already struggling with one of them, exercising still helps by alleviating many of their unpleasant symptoms.

In the case of cardiovascular health, such a routine regulates blood pressure and promotes circulations. This means that your body becomes a lot more efficient in this department. As for type 2 diabetes, being active also keeps blood sugar levels at bay, which is beneficial. Last, but certainly not least, bone and joint wellness are also a positive outcome.

As little as 30 minutes of exercise each day makes for a better musculoskeletal system, which in turn means less risk of developing osteoporosis or arthritis. But if you already have one or the other, much of the pain caused by these conditions can be relieved by a mild workout. Although it might feel difficult at first, soon enough visible recuperation will follow.

2. Improved Mobility

As you grow older, the musculoskeletal system weakens and decays. While this might not always lead to the aforementioned conditions of osteoporosis and arthritis, it will trigger a loss of mobility at some point during your life. Fortunately, adopting a regular exercise routine is an excellent way to counterattack.

Working out increases bone density and range of motion, thus promoting better health in this department. Furthermore, it also helps restore balance and strength to the body, meaning that you will be less prone to collapsing than in the past. As for your muscles, stretching does an outstanding job in keeping them flexible and impeding wasting and shortening.

If you’re over the age of 60, chances are you’ve been experiencing a decrease in your coordination abilities. While this is something that is seen as a natural consequence of aging, it is actually more of a side effect of sedentarism than anything else. And guess what is useful in resolving it? Yes, you’ve guessed it, physical activity.

And on top of that, it’s also a worthy ally in sorting out issues with posture. You don’t have to become the canonically ridiculed image of the hunched down old man or woman when you’re elderly. Many workouts do an excellent job of rearranging the spine properly.

3. Better Mental Health

Last, but certainly not least, a sustained regimen of physical activity works wonders for mental health. It’s no secret that, as you age, you tend to lose much of the sharpness of mind you use to possess in your youth. Your memory becomes worse and worse, and this creates a gateway for neurogenerative disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Exercising doesn’t only prevent them, but it also boosts mood. It’s a natural source of endorphins, fueling your body with enough of the happiness hormones to last you for a good while. By replenishing your reserves, anxiety and depression will also be kept under control, and sadness will become a thing of the past.

Furthermore, regaining your strength and being more capable of handling yourself in day to day life will be a great confidence boost. Good self-esteem is essential to mental health, but many of us tend to forget about that as we age. Fortunately, exercising is an easy way to regain it.

And while we’re on the chapter of mental health, it’s also worth noting that working out adjusts your sleep cycle. If you’ve been struggling with fatigue and insomnia, taking up jogging or even brisk walking can correct that. Not only will you fall asleep faster, but the slumber will be of a better quality and you will wake up feeling rested and refreshed.

Final Thoughts

A regular exercise routine prevents diseases that are specific to aging, improves mental health and provides those who adopt it with better mobility overall. Therefore, if you’re past a certain point in your life, you might want to consider it. Positive results will become visible in no time at all.

Luke S. Mitchell is an MS Undergraduate in Sports Journalism and manager of ExerciseBikesExpert. He is interested not only in the mind-body relationship and how motivation shapes our bodies, but also in how we draw energy just from one simple yet powerful thought. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.