Age with Grace through Exercise

Mature woman with a surfboard and exercising

There’s a timeless remedy that defies the constraints of age: exercise, the key to unlocking vitality. Think of it as the compass that guides us in shaping our physical and mental health. Drawing on insight from one of our own physicians, Dr. Harpreet Grewal, this blog will uncover the profound impact of staying active and redefining what it means to live life to the fullest.

Exercise Mitigates Risk

Exercise plays an important part in life that has an impact on our nervous system, physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. Among older individuals, a significant challenge is the decline in muscle mass and strength. The fragility of muscle and bone health can set a domino effect in motion. “One of the things that happens is if you get weak, then you’re likely to fall. And if you fall, you’re likely to break a bone. And if you break them, it’s just downhill from there. You never regain that strength back,” said Dr. Grewal. “Once your muscle mass goes down, you can’t do much.” Additionally, Dr. Grewal highlights that one common occurrence in old age is  Osteoporosis. This condition causes bones to become weak and fragile, making them more susceptible to fractures. Consistent daily exercise can help mitigate the reduction in muscle and bone mass and reduce your risk of Osteoporosis.

A study led by Dr. Rozanski at Mount Sinai found a correlation between artery health, exercise, and mortality risk.  The research involved over 2,300 patients aged 65 to 84 years and evaluated an individual’s artery condition and exercise habits over a 10-year period.  The highest death rate was among these who exercised the least compared to active exercisers. Specifically, death rates per year were 2.9% vs 1.7% among low vs active exercisers.  In the study, participants with severe artery disease benefitted from exercise, reducing mortality odds. This emphasizes the widely recognized significance of staying physically active.

So, How Often Should I Exercise?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults 65 and older need at least 150 minutes (about 2 and a half hours) of exercise weekly. This can be 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Exercises should include activities that strengthen muscles like weightlifting (does not need to be heavy) or exercises using your body weight, at least 2 days a week. Balance training is an excellent addition to an exercise routine, to reduce the risk of falls.

What Are Some Examples of Exercises?

  • Yoga: Enhances flexibility, builds muscles, stabilizes core, and strengthens bones
  • Pilates: Focuses on core strength, balance, and stability, suitable for those with arthritis or other conditions
  • Aerobic Exercise: Walking, swimming, and stationary biking all improve cardiovascular function and stamina
  • Strength Training: Uses bodyweight exercises, light weights, or resistance bands to reverse muscle loss and burn fat

You don’t need to be exercising vigorously. Even short bouts of physical activity are beneficial, the key is to be consistent. Some activity is better than none – the key is to move more and sit less. Engaging in simple activities like walking can have positive effects on both mental and physical well-being.

It is never too late to start an exercise program, but you should consult a healthcare provider before you do. Lucky for you, at Hill Physicians Medical group we have thousands of esteemed physicians for you to choose from!

8 Benefits of Exercising as You Age

  1. Increase flexibility
  2. Build stronger bones
  3. Improve mobility and balance
  4. Ease tension and stress
  5. Improve thinking ability
  6. Reduce joint and muscle pain
  7. Increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels
  8. Reduce the risk of chronic diseases
  9. Assists in speeding up recovery from injuries
  10. Contributes to a longer, healthier life

In the end, the message is clear: exercise holds the key to vitality. Let’s remember that by staying active, we aren’t just growing older – we are living life to the fullest, one move at a time.

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