There are countless reasons why we tend to slow down and become more sedentary as we age. Health problems, weight gain or pain issues, together with a fear of falling, are some of the most common reasons the elderly refrain from engaging in exercise. It is, however, as we grow older that exercise becomes increasingly important to our health.
The Importance of Fitness as We Age
According to a 2014 CDC report, 27.5% of adults aged older than 50 years reported absolutely no physical activity outside of work during the past 30 days. The prevalence of inactivity significantly increased with older age and was 25.4% among adults aged between 50 and 64 years and 26.9% among those aged 65–74 years. Studies conducted by the American Heart Association becoming more active as you age will not only boost your energy levels but protect your heart, manage symptoms of illness and pain and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Getting active isn’t just about increasing your lifespan but about improving your quality of life as well. You will not only feel better when you exercise but look better as well. You are never too old to change your lifestyle and find a way to enjoy a healthy body and mind.
Overcoming the Obstacles of Getting Active as You Age
Starting a lifestyle-altering workout program at any age is very beneficial, but more so as you get older. While there are indeed many reasons to take it easy and slow down as you age, there are even more reasons to get active. Improving your mood and relieving stress are just two of the countless benefits you will experience by giving up your sedentary lifestyle. Reaping these rewards doesn’t have to involve strenuous gym workouts or mile-long daily runs either. Even by adding more movement and activity to your life on a daily basis, you can boost your health and general well-being significantly.
Causes and Dangers of Inactivity Amongst Seniors
According to John Hopkins Medicine, a decline in mobility, muscle mass, and strength are all fairly common causes of inactivity amongst older adults which can have serious health implications including mental well-being and venous disorders. The reduced muscular function can impair the lymphatic and venous systems of the elderly as arteries and veins rely on muscle contractions to pump blood through the body. This is particularly true in the lower limbs where lymphatic fluids and blood have to fight against gravity to move up the legs. Impaired vascular strength and damage can lead to disorders such as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) which may often be an unavoidable part of aging but something which can be very effectively addressed with compression treatment.
It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of embarking on a new lifestyle you can be rest assured before long you feel like you have been at it your entire life. Remember to speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine and stop immediately if you experience any pain or shortness of breath while exercising.
Author: Jennifer Dawson