Exercise is crucial to maintaining your health and well being, but it may be even more important in aging and senior adults – and it is good to have these habits in place well before you reach “senior” status. Here is a list of benefits of maintaining an active life – it is a pretty standard list.
- General improvement in immune and digestive health, reducing the risk of chronic illness and disease.
- Helps manage body weight – cardio is important but so is strength workouts.
- Increases bone health and strength
- Improve heart and cardiovascular health
- Maintains positive mental health
- Improves balance, preventing falls
- Promotes good sleep patterns
- Reduces hypertension
- Keeps you focused and provides more energy
- When done as a group activity, improves social wellness
Recently there have been studies on the effect of exercise on dementia. Until recently the studies have been small and the results not-so-clear, but recently three very large studies have reported in. They characterize the types, intensities and durations of physical activity that confer the most overall protection against dementia. These studies, which followed thousands, and even hundreds of thousands, of people for years at a time, confirm that regular physical activity, in many forms, plays a substantial role in decreasing the risk of developing dementia. Also, the studies report the benefits are largely the same in families with a history of dementia.
After controlling for age, education and gender, the researchers found that participants who exercised regularly — defined as engaging in activities such as walking, running, swimming, dancing, participating in sports or working out at the gym — experienced measurable reduction in the likelihood of developing cognitive impairment. The studies seem to point to a target of 150 minutes per week of exercise.
For the record, those who reported their exercise as extensive house cleaning and chores, also realized benefit, but to a lesser degree.
There was no report on couch surfing or binge watching. Pretty sure they are not likely to help avoid dementia later in life. Might kills some brain cells in the present, but that for another study.
In the meantime, get yer’ exercise on!