Staying active is important for anyone but it’s especially important as people age. While staying active isn’t always easy, it is important as regular activity helps combat health conditions and diseases, maintain weight, and improve mood.
Being active can be made easier when there is a group to join or someone to guide older adults through activities that would be the most helpful. Older adults who live in senior living communities, like Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) senior living communities, have these things and more available to them. Studies by the Mather Institute have shown that older adults who live in senior living communities, especially Life Plan Communities, are more active than older adults who live on their own. Read on to learn a few reasons why staying active is important as people age.
Five Reasons Why Seniors Should Stay Active
The first thing Beth Nardoni, Director of Community Wellness at Mason Pointe, an LSS Life Plan Community located in Town and Country, Missouri, says about the importance of staying active is: A body in motion stays in motion.
“Staying active is important for mental health and social wellbeing because it keeps mind and body growing,” said Nardoni. “Older adults need to be as active as their body allows.”
Cardiovascular health, improved mobility, greater strength, increased bone density, these are all benefits seniors can see from being more active. Increasing activity is good, but it’s also important for older adults to do so safely and remind mindful of any modifications they may need to make for their own abilities.
Staying Active Improves Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular health is the health of the heart and blood vessels. So, keeping the cardiovascular system healthy is very important.
“Daily cardio is something older adults should be doing,” said Nardoni. “Cardio activities look different for different abilities but it’s just getting heat rate up whether that’s walking or getting arms moving a little quicker.”
Nardoni suggests aqua classes as a good way for older adults to get in cardio because being in the water is beneficial for joints.
Exercising Maintains Body Weight
Metabolism can slow down as people age. Meaning that physical activity is important in helping to maintain a healthy weight. Staying at a healthy weight for one’s age, build, and activity level plays a vital role in overall health and preventing problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and breathing problems.
While it’s important to find an activity to help keep moving, older adults should also have a conversation with their doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Working Out Encourages Strength and Bone Density
As people age, muscle loss is common. But keeping strong is key to living as independently as possible and being able to participate in everyday activities. Resistance exercises are an easy way to build up strength.
“Adding some resistance to your activities is good,” said Nardoni. “We usually use resistance bands or hold water bottles or small weights while walking. Adding about three pounds is about right.”
Bone density can also lessen as people grow older. Exercise can help to increase bone density and protect older adults from fractures.
Coordination Exercises Prevent Falls
Because falls can be more serious for older adults, it’s especially important to prevent them. Balance exercises can help older adults increase their balance potentiality preventing falls in the future.
Exercises that focus on improving balance help older adults to be steadier on their feet and help with better coordination – two things that can prevent falls.
Social Activity Promotes Mental Health
“We also do tons of other activities that focus on social, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing,” said Nardoni. “Things like Bible study classes and trivia night.”
The focus on all areas of wellness is critical to one’s overall wellbeing. Social wellness activities promote mental health. Being part of a community and having positive interactions with other people make people feel good! As people age, it’s especially important for them to find opportunities to be part of a community and be socially active.
Embrace Active Aging with LSS
LSS communities encourage active living for older adults in alignment with the LSS mission of Older Adults Living Life to the Fullest. In LSS communities, residents of all levels of living from Independent Living to Assisted Living to Long Term Care find opportunities to be well in many ways. Visit the LSS communities page to find an LSS community.