Elders Will Benefit with Proper Nutrition and Exercise
There is no better time to exercise than when you’re older.
Although many seniors know the importance of physical fitness, it is estimated that about 85 percent fail to exercise on a regular basis. Our elderly push it aside for the same reasons younger people don’t exercise – it’s too hard, it’s too boring, or it takes too long to see the results of their effort.
This is a big mistake for a number of reasons. For starters, regular physical activity, in addition to making you look and feel good, lowers risk for a variety of conditions that increase when we age. This includes heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure and obesity. According to one aging expert, “Biologically you can reverse the aging process by 15 to 25 years.” In addition, exercise can maintain a senior’s mobility, keep bones and muscles strong, promote good balance, and combat frailty. Enhancing and maintaining elder fitness will also increase metabolic rates and burn calories, decrease body fat, improve immune function and promote bone density.
If that’s not enough reason to jump on a treadmill or start lifting weights, recent research shows that regular exercise can reverse age-related brain decline. There is substantial evidence that aerobic exercise and physical activity can affect such executive-control brain functions as task coordination, planning, goal maintenance, working memory and the ability to switch tasks. Several studies have shown that regular moderate exercise that makes a person breathless increases the speed and sharpness of thought, the actual volume of brain tissue, and the way in which the brain functions. Adults with higher levels of physical fitness had less evidence of deterioration in gray matter (involved in thinking) than did less fit peers.
Even frail seniors can exercise with the presence and assistance of home care staff. Home Care Partners will provide staff for safety in walking, climbing stairs, and reminders to follow your current physical therapy routine.
A body is just like a car – it needs to be used to keep working properly. Once the senior has a “green light” from his/her primary care physician, they need to spend some time and effort in order to maintain good health.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164