This week we are going to talk about the importance of lifelong exercise. If you enjoy playing with your grandchildren, walking the mall, or just meeting up with your friends, it is imperative that you remain active as you age. Staying active is crucial to one’s health and independence. By not remaining active, simple things you have always enjoyed or even taken for granted will start to become harder. For example, individuals who do not continue to stay active develop musculoskeletal issues (aches and pains) and are at increased risk of falls. You are also at higher risk of heart disease, dementia, diabetes, stroke, and some cancers.
Below are 4 components you should incorporate into an exercise program if you want to remain pain free and able to go out and stay independent well into old age.
- Cardio: This type of aerobic exercise increases the heart rate, making the heart more efficient and also improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen and energy to tissues. This activity will help lessen fatigue and shortness of breath. It also promotes independence by increasing endurance for daily activities like house cleaning and errands. Examples include walking, senior fitness classes (ex. water aerobics), swimming, and dancing.
- Strength Training: This type of exercise helps build muscle using a weight or even resistance from your body weight. This activity will help prevent bone loss and improve balance. Building one’s strength can help with household activities like opening a jar and lifting objects. Examples include machine weights, free weights, and resistance bands.
- Flexibility: This type of exercise (stretching) improves muscle and joint flexibility. It also helps reduce tension and enhance range of motion. This is done through stationary stretches and stretches that involve movement. By staying limber and increasing your range of motion, activities such as tying your shoes, styling your hair and simply looking behind you will remain easier. Examples include yoga and Tai chi.
- Balance: This type of exercise improves the body’s stability and reduces the risk of falling. It will also help improve one’s posture and gait as you age. This is an important component because our sense of balance diminishes over time. Examples include yoga and Tai chi.