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Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults

By Ashlee Williman | 09/10/2019

We’ve all heard it a hundred times: exercise is important! When we hear this, many of us automatically think of the role of exercise in weight management, but do we think about the other benefits of exercising? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight many of these benefits such as reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression; improving our moods; reducing our blood pressure and the risk of falls; and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints.

Before beginning an exercise routine, we should consider how line dancing, tai chi, jazzercise, Strength & Stretch, walking clubs, yoga, toning classes, balloon volleyball, water aerobics, qigong and other activities fit into these less obvious benefits. All of these exercise options and more are offered weekly at the Rose Centers for Aging Well, and the benefits they provide are evident in the experiences of one of our regular Rose Center participants, Mary. She tries never to miss a class because it gives her more energy, lifts her spirits and she enjoys socializing with her friends. Additionally, she encourages her church members to join her for exercise classes on a regular basis. It’s inspiring to see the energy, enthusiasm and motivation of Center participants as they engage in these regularly scheduled exercise activities. 

Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH states, “the goal is to achieve at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) of moderate-intensity endurance activity a week. Being active at least 3 days a week is best, but doing anything is better than doing nothing at all. If you cannot do 150 minutes a week because of a health condition, do as much as your condition allows.” It is always recommended that we consult with our physicians before beginning any exercise routine. 

The opportunity to meet up with friends, or meet new people who may oftentimes share similar interests or hobbies as us, can be an added benefit of exercise. This can become even more important as we age, as our social networks may be changing. Exercise can be a great excuse for catching up with a friend for a walk around the neighborhood or going for a bike ride through the park. Additionally, exercise helps to increase self-confidence, which can positively affect our interactions with others. Go4Life states that exercise can also benefit emotional well-being by improving our mood, reducing feelings of anxiety, depression and stress. 

The Alzheimer’s Association states “growing evidence indicates that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by adopting key lifestyle habits. When possible, combine these habits to achieve maximum benefit for the brain and body.” The Rose Centers for Aging Well strives to do just that by offering a daily schedule of physical, social and cognitive activities. 

If you are interested in ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, you can start by checking out Go4Life for exercise routines, ideas and tips.