Aging may be inevitable, but the effects that time has on the body can be minimized through mobility and regular activity. Mobility is simply the ability to move around with comfort and ease and without risk of injury.
According to the CDC, regular mobility and activity helps seniors avoid the loss of strength and stamina that can accompany aging. Encouraging your senior loved one to take part in gentle but effective exercises and activities can help improve their overall wellness, cardiovascular health and ability to avoid injury. Active seniors also have better mental health and can benefit from more social interaction; a simple senior class at the local gym can provide not only a workout, but a break from isolation and some much needed social and emotional support as well.
According to the National Institute of Health, seniors who remain active are not only more fit than their sedentary counterparts, they have better cognitive functioning, too. Even mild physical activity can elevate moods and help manage stress; some studies also reveal regular exercise for seniors can boost some types of cognitive function, such as memory, agility and even strategic thinking.
Exercise leads to better heart health for everyone – especially seniors. Walking, water aerobics and other activities allow seniors to optimize their heart health without putting undue strain on joints. Encouraging seniors to be active can result in better cardiovascular health, healthy blood pressure and can even increase their stamina and energy, too.
For seniors already struggling with joint or mobility issues, weight control is a must. Every added pound puts pressure on already aching joints and can make it more difficult to get around. Regular activity can help seniors maintain a healthy weight and retain as much mobility as possible. Obesity also contributes to a variety of health conditions that impact seniors, from cardiovascular complaints to diabetes; attaining or maintaining a healthy weight helps older adults reduce the risk of these conditions.
Fitness doesn’t happen in a vacuum; for isolated seniors or those who simply don’t go out much, a group exercise program provides additional social opportunities. Lack of social interaction can lead to depression and other mental health problems in seniors; a regular class or program can help your loved one get fit and stay connected to others in the community. For vibrant, happy seniors, a class offers the chance to check in with friends, stay mobile and attain the benefits of an active lifestyle, all in one place.
A healthy, active, mobile senior is more likely to have a good amount of muscle mass and bone density – and less likely to be injured during a fall. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), about 25% of adults over the age of 65 will fall each year; encouraging your senior loved one to stay fit and active can reduce their risk of falling or being injured after a fall.
Activity doesn’t have to be strenuous or difficult to be beneficial. Encouraging seniors to try gentle stretching or yoga can help improve their overall flexibility and mobility. Flexibility is important for more than just stretching – a flexible senior can have more independence and perform more self-care tasks, from reaching items on a high shelf to tying their own shoes.
Improved mobility translates to improved self-care and independence. A senior that can easily get up from a chair, prepare a meal, even bathe and dress him or herself is a senior who can enjoy an independent lifestyle.
From improved health and wellness to a decreased risk of injury and sustained independence, encouraging your senior to remain mobile and agile ensures that they remain as active and healthy as possible. At Sunshine Retirement Living we are committed to having a positive impact on the lives of seniors and their families. Contact us today for more information on our various senior living communities.
*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living