Aging is something that will happen to us all, and yet no one really looks forward to it! Luckily, seniors are aging better than ever before, thanks to improved diet, better medical care, and access to information on how to stay healthy. Speaking of staying healthy, did you know that regular exercise can not only prevent the development of disease, but also add years to your life? If that’s not enough to convince you, exercise helps you look younger, too!
According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, regular exercise after age 60 carries important benefits:
- Men who engaged in moderate exercise lived about 1.3 years longer
- Women who engaged in moderate exercise lived 1.1 years longer
- Very active men lived 3.7 years longer
- Very active women lived 3.2 years longer
- People who exercised more had a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease
No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to start exercising! But of course, you should work with your doctor to develop an exercise program that is safe and appropriate for your health and level of fitness. Schedule an appointment with your physician, so that he or she can screen you for heart conditions, high blood pressure, or any other ailments that might make exercise unsafe for you.
When putting together an exercise regimen, remember that aerobic exercise like walking, biking, or swimming is best for your heart. However, resistance training is also important to maintain muscle tone. For women in particular, resistance training helps to prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, but it is important for men too. A combination of both types of exercise is best.
Now, ease into your exercise routine. Remember that even if you have to start slow, it’s better than doing nothing! Seek to add just a few minutes to aerobic exercise each week, and very gradually increase the difficulty of your weight training program. Seek the advice of a physical trainer, to make sure you’re using correct form. This will prevent injuries and help you stay active.
Working out will not only help you live longer; it will help you live a better life! Get started now, and years from now you will be glad you took this important step for your health.