Exercise after 50… what’s the big deal?

We know that there are many components to #optimalhealth and increasing our quality of life as we age.  Here at Dr. Life, we’ve talked about components such as nutrition, healthy eating, heart health, improving one’s mental health, rest, and many more. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to improve all of those things together, is exercise!  Exercise has been shown to increase everything from metabolism to libido, and letting it fall by the wayside is a definitive path to a decline in health, instead of longevity and healthy aging.

So, what are the benefits of exercise after 50, and why should we be concerned?  Here are some great articles and resources to help you understand the importance of exercise and how YOU can be sure to get the full benefit of your personal workout routine.

Muscle Mass

Muscles help our bodies be able to function properly and safely.  Loss of muscle mass is one of the biggest dangers as we age and this can contribute to increased fall-risk and difficulty in balance, among other things.  Here are some great articles and tips for you:

3 Over 50 Muscle Building Tips

Bone Strength

Osteoporosis is a definite risk as we age.  How can we prevent bone loss and potential breakage in order to fully enjoy a healthy lifestyle in the golden years?  Here’s a great article for you.

7 Ways to Improve Bone Health

Balance

One of the biggest issues in aging is instability when walking and moving around.  Is there a way to improve this?  You bet!  Always consult with your doctor before trying any of these ideas, but here are 3 great tips for improving balance.

How to Improve Your Balance in 3 Steps

5 Myths

This list comes directly from helpguide.org and shows us the importance and necessary nature of exercise as we age.

Five myths about exercise and aging

Myth 1: There’s no point to exercising. I’m going to get old anyway.

Fact: Exercise and strength training helps you look and feel younger and stay active longer. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure, and obesity. Not only can exercise help stem the decline in strength and vitality that comes with age, it even improve it. And the mood benefits of exercise can be just as great as 70 or 80 as they were at 20 or 30.

Myth 2: Older people shouldn’t exercise. They should save their strength and rest.

Fact: Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for adults over 50. Inactivity often causes older adults to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and use of medicines for illnesses.

Myth 3: Exercise puts me at risk of falling down.

Fact: Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling.

Myth 4: It’s too late. I’m already too old to start exercising.

Fact: You’re never too old to start exercising and improve your health! In fact, adults who take up exercise later in life often show greater physical and mental improvements than their younger counterparts. If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a while, you won’t be encumbered by the same sports injuries that many regular exercisers experience in later life. In other words, there aren’t as many miles on your clock so you’ll quickly start reaping the rewards. Just begin with gentle activities and build up from there.

Myth 5: I’m disabled. I can’t exercise sitting down.

Fact: Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics, chair yoga, and chair Tai Chi to increase range of motion, improve muscle tone and flexibility, and promote cardiovascular health. Many swimming pools offer access to wheelchair users and there are adaptive exercise programs for wheelchair sports such as basketball.

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