Although the exercise benefits for seniors have been well-documented over the years, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that most people do not engage in enough physical activity once they retire. According to the CDC, 50 percent of women and approximately 33 percent of men get no exercise at all after retirement.
Some may argue with these statistics by saying they walk at the grocery store or to their mailbox every day. However, these everyday activities are not what the CDC refers to when it discusses the importance of exercise for older Americans. To obtain the maximum benefit from physical activity, you should choose something that increases your heart and breathing rate during and after the exercise.
CDC Exercise Recommendations for Seniors
If you have the stamina and physical ability, the CDC recommends aiming for 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five days a week. The government health organization recognizes this is not possible for all older Americans and stresses that any physical activity you can engage in is better than none at all.
When a disability, injury, or chronic illness prevents you from getting 150 minutes of exercise each week, just aim to do the best you can. Being as physically active as your abilities allow offers several benefits, some of which we outline below.
Regular Exercise Helps to Maintain Muscle Strength and a Healthy Body Weight
Metabolism naturally slows as people age, which means that maintaining a healthy body weight can be challenging. While that can be frustrating, the good news is that routine physical activity burns calories and can help to reduce body fat.
Exercise is also instrumental in maintaining muscle strength, another thing that naturally declines as you get older. With falls being the leading cause of injury and accidental death among seniors, anything you can do to keep your muscle strength will reduce the likelihood of serious injury from a fall. Muscle weakness is one of the most common reasons seniors fall in the first place, as is failing eyesight and balance difficulties.
Another benefit of strong muscles is that you can continue to participate in your favorite activities, like walking or ballroom dancing. You will also be able to keep up with your children and grandchildren when they come for a visit.
More Physical Activity Means a Better Night Sleep and Improved Mental Health
Many older adults struggle with insomnia due to body changes they cannot control. However, chronic under-stimulation may be to blame in more cases than even the CDC realizes. When people do not engage in physical activity or face few intellectual challenges during the day, their bodies can react by not being tired at night. Regular exercise helps to promote healthier sleep patterns because it raises the body’s core temperature.
Depression, anxiety, and other common mental health concerns can also improve with exercise and consistent high-quality sleep. The act of physical activity releases feel-good hormones in the brain that can enhance and stabilize mood while promoting a stronger sense of well-being.
Solivita Living Offers Built-In Exercise Options
From onsite swimming pools to tennis courts to fitness centers, Solivita Living offers an active lifestyle to the 55+ retirement community. We invite you to contact us to learn more about these and other amenities at our five locations in Central Florida.