ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Effects of Exercising on Seniors

Updated on June 19, 2013
Running, walking, bicycling and more are exercises that many seniors still enjoy.
Running, walking, bicycling and more are exercises that many seniors still enjoy. | Source
Dancing is both a social and physical activity that older adults can enjoy.
Dancing is both a social and physical activity that older adults can enjoy. | Source

Exercise Benefits for Body, Brain and Mind

The Benefits of Exercise for Seniors

If you could:

  • Strengthen your bones
  • Maintain and/or build muscle tone
  • Keep your heart muscle healthy
  • Prevent unsteadiness
  • Increase flexibility
  • Slow loss of thinking skills
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lose and/or maintain weight
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Stave off chronic illnesses such as diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease

These are just some of the benefits to be had when regular physical activity -- exercise -- is part of your daily life. In addition to these physical benefits, exercise has been proven to improve mood and feelings of well-being.

Some exercise and physical activity is team-oriented or done in groups which provides a social outlet for seniors.

No one has to be left out from reaping the benefits of exercise. People confined to wheelchairs or are unable to stand for long periods of time can participate from the wheelchair or a chair. No one is too young or too old to begin, or to continue, to be fit.

Senior Olympics/National Senior Games Association

Lots of baby boomers and seniors have been physically active all their lives. Some people in these age groups began physical fitness, sports, or exercise in mid-life and some baby boomers and seniors are interested in becoming physically active and fit now.

The National Senior Games Association has something to offer anyone of any fitness level age 50 and older. It is the NSGA that offers the state national Senior Olympics each year. The organization also offers education, fitness tips and programs and nutrition information.

Debunking the Myths About Seniors and Exercise

* Why exercise? I'm going to get old anyway. It's true that you are going to age, but you can do so with a better quality of life if you're able to prevent or actively treat chronic conditions like arthritis, heart failure, diabetes and heart disease. Regular exercise decreases your risk for dementia, colon cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

* Old people should rest and save their strength. The fact is, a sedentary lifestyle robs your body of strength, from loss of muscle tone to weakening of the bones. Regular physical activity strengthens and improves bone density and muscles. Exercise can also aid in preventing or reducing problems with being able to go to sleep at night or to stay asleep.

* Exercise puts old people at risk for falling. Exercise actually improves strength, flexibility, stability and balance, reducing the risk of falls.

* I'm too old to start exercising. You're never too old to be physically active. It's true you shouldn't start out by running a marathon, but walking short distances and increasing the distance slowly is one way to begin. Talk to your health care provider to learn what options are best for your individual condition.

* I'm disabled. How can I exercise if I can't even stand alone? There are a wide variety of chair exercises in many exercise disciplines including strength training and tai chi. Upper body strength is important to maintain whether you are in a wheelchair or use a mobility appliance such as a cane or walker.

Adapted from Helpguide.org; Senior Exercise and Fitness Tips.

Chair Exercise Video for Seniors

Walking is a beneficial exercise for mind and body. It's even more fun when done with friends.
Walking is a beneficial exercise for mind and body. It's even more fun when done with friends. | Source

The Science Behind Exercise's Effects on Seniors

There has been much research devoted to understanding the effects of exercise and physical activity in recent decades in the aging and senior members of the population. Some of the research has been spurred by the overweight and obesity epidemic in the United States and other Westernized cultures; some of it has been to develop improved prevention and treatment of the effects of aging on the body and chronic illnesses.

A review of all recent research into the effects of exercising on seniors would be a mini-sage. Instead, here's snippets of a variety of such studies and their conclusions:

* European Journal of Heart Failure; 2000: Study participants with a mean age of 81 plus or minus four years with chronic heart failure participated in a once-week exercise session tailored to their abilities for a 15-week period. The conclusion was that elderly patients with chronic heart failure could benefit from a appropriately designed exercise program.

* Cochrane database of systematic reviews; July 6, 2011: This study sought to determine what, if any, relationship existed between exercise and bone loss in postmenopausal women. The conclusion reached was that exercise resulted in a statistically insignificant -- but possibly important -- effect on bone density.

* Mayo Clinic Proceedings; Sept. 2011: The Mayo Clinic reviewed previously published studies about the effect of exercise as a preventive or disease-modifying treatment of dementia and brain aging. After examining studies that showed improvements in cognitive scores and gray matter volume determined by imaging, Mayo Clinic concluded that exercise should not be overlooked as an important therapeutic strategy.

* International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine; 2011: Exercise was evaluated for the treatment of depression and anxiety. It was found that exercise compares well with the use of anti-depressant medications as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression and also works well when used along with medication. Exercise has also been found to be effective in reducing anxiety, although not to the same level as anti-anxiety medications.



Disclaimer

This hub is informational in nature and not meant as a substitute or replacement of the advice of a health care provider. Always discuss any new activity or program with your health care provider before making any changes.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      my dad is in his 70's and had began jogging as early as 6.30am around 5 years ago. He looks strong, fir and healthy before my mom had stroke and made him stressful, hectic and tired....

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 

      5 years ago

      Interesting and useful information. Staying active is so important as we age. Walking is my favorite exercise of choice.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 

      5 years ago

      So pleased you wrote this. Exercise is so important, and it doesn't have to be strenuous exercise.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Peachpurple, your Dad is an inspiration. Quitting smoking and becoming more physically active; those are two big steps toward better health and just feeling better in general.

      Thank you for your comments and voting.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      my dad is in his 70s and he exercises everyday from 5.30am in the morning for an hour. He started his regime since he stopped smoking 5 years ago. Exercise makes him looks fit and strong and younger too. Old people should exercise but only the easy ones. Love to read your hub about the myths. Voted interesting

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)