Retirement is great, right? No more daily grind of work commuting, 9-5 clock-punching, or messing with fussy work clothes. You have time to pursue the things you want; perhaps some painting, card-playing, and more time with the family. But where does fitness fit into the over-60 lifestyle? Well, considering that around 40% of women and 30% of men over age 60 say that they never exercise, it appears that it sometimes doesn’t fit in at all.
Last Monday was National Senior Citizens Day, and since seniors are the least-exercised age group in the US, we thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about the importance of keeping a strong fitness routine as you age, given that you’ve gotten your doctor’s okay.
- Use it or lose it. You’ve heard this adage before, and it becomes even truer for those of retirement age. When you’re talking about cardio endurance or muscle mass, if you’re not building and maintaining, then you’re losing. So often we find that the physical decline that plagues so many senior citizens is not just a result of getting older, but rather of becoming less active. Weight training and age-appropriate aerobic activity can help promote muscle gain, flexibility, heart and lung health, and overall strength for daily activities.
- Your bones will thank you. It is estimated that 50% of women and 25% of men over age 50 will experience an age-related bone fracture in their lifetime. And after said fracture, bones of seniors don’t always heal as easily as when they were younger. Given all of this, it seems like a great time to hit the weights. Studies have shown that weight training 2-3 times per week can build bone density. This happens because when you lift weights, your muscles pull against your bones, stimulating it to grow in density. In other words, your bones adapt to stresses placed upon it.
- Your brain will thank you, too. Brainhq.com discusses how exercise actually helps foster new connections between cortical brain cells. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation reports that regular exercise can reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer’s by up to 50%; and this goes for both cardio exercise, as well as weight training.
- Also on the brain-health front, exercise helps deliver more oxygen to the brain, leading to greater brain health. Not only that, exercise can help you feel better mentally and emotionally by promoting the release of endorphins.
And what if you’re a senior citizen, or quickly approaching that age, and have not exactly kept up a stellar exercise schedule? Not to worry. As long as it’s okay with your doctor, it’s never too late to start exercising. Come on in to Fitness Together and learn how our certified trainers can start working with you right where you’re at, and help you meet your health goals. We can incorporate cardio, weight-training, stretching, and balance exercises to ensure that your body is as well-rounded and healthy as it can be.