The benefits of exercise for your body are so much wider than most people ever imagine. Everyone knows that exercise helps you to maintain a healthy weight. We have all been lectured on cardiovascular exercise to keep our hearts in shape. Most of us know that walking helps to increase circulation and lower blood pressure. What is surprising is the benefits of exercise for just about every other part of your life, as well – especially as you age.
One of the benefits of exercise is that it increases your lifespan. Regular exercise, along with a healthy diet, decreases your chances of dying prematurely. That is probably the best benefit of exercise and a major reason to begin an exercise program.
Working out lowers blood pressure and the risk of heart attack or stroke. It decreases the risk of many chronic diseases including diabetes. Regular walking can promote blood flow to the legs and feet, increasing healing potential. Not only do people who exercise live longer lives, but they have less pain in later life.
The benefits of exercise not only benefit you physically, but also mentally. As a matter-of-fact, it is crucial for your brain health. Being in control of your body weight and form can actually elevate your mood. Exercise decreases depression and mood swings for people with even severe forms of depression.
It also helps you by increasing your self esteem. Regular daily exercise promotes self-discipline that spills over into the rest of your life. People who exercise regularly tend to have more social interaction than people who do not. This in turn stimulates the brain, especially in the elderly; it increases memory function and mental acuity.
Regular exercise improves your sex life. I have been told “Men who exercise regularly are much less likely to experience erectile dysfunction or impotence than men who do not exercise.” And it makes sense.
The reason being, simple cardiovascular exercises increase blood flow to all of your organs. It helps to increase your stamina and your sexual functioning. And who couldn’t use a little more time between the sheets with your loved one!
Physically, exercise decreases your risk of osteoporosis, heart attack, stroke – it even decreases your cholesterol levels. If your doctor is preaching to you about lowering your triglycerides, exercise can help you. It is shown to prevent certain forms of cancer, including breast cancer. Women who exercise regularly are 60% less likely to develop breast cancer than women who do not exercise. Even moderate exercise can reverse even insulin dependent diabetes.
Exercises help your body gain muscle and lose fat. It creates alternate pathways for blood flow, helping to bypass clogged arteries; it lowers your heart rate, increases your lung capacity and creates a toned body that works at optimal capacity. Working out even helps you sleep better at night – important because this is when your body repairs itself. A body’s temperature lowers naturally a few hours after exercise. This helps even an insomniac get a better night’s rest. And when you are awake, exercise also increases your energy levels, meaning you can accomplish more when you exercise.
With the benefits of exercise so vast, it is surprising that anyone would want to avoid working out. Unfortunately, exercise is sometimes pushed aside because we have so many other things to do with our time – seniors are busy! But one of the things you should make time to do is exercise because of the many and varied benefits derived from doing it.
Anti Aging Benefits of Exercise
We all know that exercise keeps us healthy and fit. However, exercise does more than just keep our body in good physical condition. It acts in many ways to delay or mitigate some of the physical, mental and emotional effects of aging. Along the way, it also helps us look and feel younger!
Creams, lotions, moisturizers and other products applied to the skin may feel good, but they only work (or at least we hope they do) on the ‘outside’. Exercise helps defy the aging signs from the inside out.
There is scientific evidence which shows that aerobic exercises does improve memory retention and learning abilities. Walking for at least thirty minutes a day, at least four times a week, can greatly improve blood flow to the brain. This then provides more oxygen to the brain, which in turn prevents beta-amyloid plaques from building up, thus helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. So playing crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other mentally-stimulating games is definitely not the only way to keep your brain sharp. Exercise will too!
Younger Looking Skin
Exercising for at least three times a week has been shown to reverse the visible signs of aging, so our body looks younger. It is not only those in middle-age who will benefit from exercise. The same is true for people in their older years who regularly stick to their exercise regimen.
The portion of the skin referred to as stratum corneum is one of those areas that are benefited the most by regular exercise. Experts say that exercise preserves the health of the skin’s stratum corneum and even reverse its signs of aging. The stratum corneum is the part of the skin which readily displays aging effects as it sags, wrinkles, droops and thickens due to diminished elasticity and dying cells that naturally occur with aging.
As we age, we become more prone to falls and more susceptible to fractures when we do. However, a 2010 study showed that regular exercise can help reduce one’s risk of falling by as much as 13 per cent. This percentage may seem small but the fact is that one in every three adults aged 65 and older fall every year, according to research.
Falls can result in fractures, tissue and organ injuries and even death. One of the best exercises for improving balance is Tai Chi. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that Tai-Chi was effective in helping people prevent falls while their mental health was also improved. Also don’t overlook yoga as an exercise that can improve balance too!
Undertaking weight bearing exercises will cause new bone tissues to form thereby making your bones as well as your muscles stronger. The good news is that you do not have to be an athlete in order to achieve these benefits. Weight bearing exercises are easy to do and can be performed almost anywhere.
Examples of these exercises include climbing stairs, jogging, running, walking, tennis, dancing, basketball and many more. If you have a child or a teenager in your family, encourage them to do these exercises with you.
As well as encouraging you to exercise, this will help to “future-proof” the child from weak bones. This is because the greatest gains in bone mass can be achieved during or before and during puberty. They need to have as much bone mass as they can while they are still young to ensure they have greater bone mass as they age.
Don’t let that dishearten you, as bone density and strength can be improved at any age. Don’t delay; start today!