Know the Benefits of Exercise for Seniors
Year after year, the leading cause of death for people over the age of 65 is cardiovascular disease. While this statistic is alarming, adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise can help reduce the risk and reverse the effects of the disease. In fact, exercise has been shown to reduce several risk factors for cardiovascular disease including obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. It can even reduce the risk of death by 33% in those that already suffer from it.
Regardless of age, The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. This can seem daunting for seniors who may have mobility or health limitations. However, it doesn’t have to be. Activities like walking, yoga and even gardening are all easy to get your heart pumping and your body moving. Break your exercise sessions into small, manageable time frames each day.
Another great exercise to consider is strength training. More than just heavy lifting, it is now considered a crucial part of a heart-healthy lifestyle and an excellent way for seniors to stay fit and active. It’s never too late to start, and the benefits, especially for your heart, are plenty.
Strength training is good for your muscles and your heart.
After age 60, the natural loss of muscle mass rapidly increases. This can lead to less strength and flexibility, limited mobility and consequently more serious health problems including cardiovascular disease. Studies show that strength training at least twice a week reduces these risks. For seniors, strength training has been shown to: improve mobility, prevent broken bones, increase physical activity, lower weight, relieve arthritis pain, help control glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes, reduce depression, and improve sleep. All are good for long term heart health and an active lifestyle.
Strength training is also the perfect way for seniors to combine endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility into one simple workout. Adding in resistance bands, hand-held weights, and body weight exercises to your routine are easy ways to maximize the benefits of physical activity and support good heart health.
This February and going forward, commit to better heart health and longevity by moving more and adding strength training to your fitness routine! Remember to always consult with your physician before starting any new exercise regime.