Healthy Senior Living: Movement Is Good Medicine
Movement is medicine, including for men and women in their Golden Years. In other words, our health and well-being are enhanced when we incorporate some type of physical activity into our daily routine. There are a number of important benefits to incorporating movement into your daily life:
- Weight management
- Reduced disease risk
- Healthier bones and muscles
- Pain reduction
- Improved mental health
- Increased life expectancy
We take a look at these key benefits associated with incorporating movement and exercise into your daily routines:
A basic component of weight management is to burn off calories you take in each day. If you want to reduce your weight, a primary element is burning off more calories than you consume each day. Incorporating movement into your daily routine will increase the number of calories that you burn on any given day.
Reduced Disease Risk
Physicians and other health experts are consistent in maintaining that 150 minutes a week of moderate physical exercise can assist in lowering the risk of certain diseases. This level of movement or exercise can reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
More intensive aerobic exercise is demonstrated to be helpful in lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels – and many times, significantly so. This type of exercise can also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as metabolic syndrome. If you have already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, increased physical activity can result in better control over blood sugar levels.
Healthier Bones and Muscles
Bones naturally become weaker as we age. Bone density decreases significantly. The risk of bone fracture increases. This medical condition is known as osteoporosis. Even if you do any physical work for half an hour each day, your risk of developing osteoporosis significantly decreases.
Exercise can also lower the rate at which the bones lose their density, delaying the onset of osteoporosis in older people. Resistance training and the use of weights can stimulate bone-building. This makes bones more resilient and robust as we age.
Strength training exercises can result in an increase in muscle mass. Increased muscle mass also
aids you when it comes to performing more strenuous work for more extended periods without feeling fatigued. Exercise to enhance muscle mass also improves your balance, coordination, and overall stability.
Moderate regular exercise can be helpful in reducing pain. You certainly do not want to overdo it in this regard. However, if you do engage in moderate daily movement, you can see a reduction in certain types of chronic pain.
Regular physical activity is also demonstrated to be effective at reducing the threshold for pain for some people, including making your body more resistive and enduring. Moreover, some of the advantages of continuous movement deal with several sources that can cause body aches. For instance, regular physical activity reduces the risk, duration, and intensity of back pain, especially in those with sciatica.
Improved Mental Health
As of this point in time, there has been a considerable amount of scientific research that proves regular exercise has the potential to improve mental health. For example, older individuals can be particularly susceptible to depression (for a variety of different reasons). Depression is an example of a mental health condition that can be improved by undertaking daily exercise, by incorporating movement into your routines.
Increased Life Expectancy
Increased life expectancy is another major benefit associated with incorporating movement and exercise into your daily routine. The conclusion of many researchers is:
People who perform physical activities for about 150 minutes each week have a 33 percent less chance of all-cause mortality. The percentage difference is highly noticeable in the cases of leading causes of death, such as cancer and heart disease.
And the perfect thing is, you don’t have to do too much strenuous work to increase your life expectancy. You can even perform moderate to slightly vigorous exercises and activities, and you’ll improve your chances of living longer.
There are also significant negative consequences associated with physical activity that we address in this article as well. These are:
- Loss of flexibility
- Poor sleep
We take a moment to consider these four significant potential negative outcomes of failing to be physically active:
We previously discussed the fact that weight maintenance and weight loss are tied directly to caloric intake and calorie burning. A lack of regular exercise can result in an unhealthy disparity between calories consumed and calories expended, putting a person on the pathway to obesity.
As mentioned previously, movement is good medicine when it comes to improving mental health. The risk of depression increases when an individual does not engage in regular exercise.
When the blood of patients suffering from depression is tested, endorphin levels of these individuals are said to be severely low. The reality is that little, or no movement has a detrimental effect on your mental health and can cause depression.
Loss of Flexibility
It is important to understand that muscles shrink in size and become relatively inactive when not used. The muscles affected most by a sedentary lifestyle are:
- Lower back muscles
Ultimately, the overall impact is a loss of flexibility as well as functional limitations in performing everyday tasks and activities.
Individuals who live sedentary oftentimes (more often than not, in fact) report poor sleep habits. This can come in the form of the quantity of sleep, the quantity of sleep, or both. The failure to get proper sleep results in a wide range of other types of health concerns, including the potential for reducing life expectancy.
Tips to Incorporate Movement Into Your Daily Life
There are a variety of ways in which you can include physical activity in your everyday life. Some suggestions on how you can incorporate beneficial movement into your daily live include:
- Take daily (are almost daily) walks
- Take the stairs
- Do phone calls while walking
- Move around when performing routine tasks (like brushing your teeth)
- Walks on a treadmill while watching television
- Park further away from a store to get more steps in
Again, this is only a partial list of ways to incorporate movement into your daily life. You undoubtedly will think of other options that fit into your own personal day-to-day routines.