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Maintaining Your Exercise Regimen in Your Later Years

Posted on May 19, 2021 by Martin Banks

A 2002 government survey revealed that older adults exercise less than those aged 18 through 64. This statistic should startle you if you’re approaching your golden years. You can’t overstate the value of regular fitness.

Aging isn’t for wimps, but a regular fitness routine smoothes the process. Here are five reasons maintaining your exercise regimen in your later years is vital and tips for keeping yourself healthy as you get older.

1. Lower Your Disease Risk

There’s a reason why those who wait to invest in life insurance pay a prettier penny as they get older. Insurers use actuarial tables to determine your chances of dying before your next birthday, and your age is one principal factor. However, if you want to save money when you buy a new policy, get moving — exercise lowers your risk of diseases that can also increase your rates.

Researchers investigated seniors and discovered that exercise provided a 33% reduction in all-cause mortality when participants stuck with the program over 36 months. You probably enjoy hearing that news even more than your life insurance agent — who doesn’t want to add a few more years?

However, getting fit isn’t all about tacking on additional months of life but adding quality to them. A UK review of 11 studies reveals that regular cardiovascular exercise lowers dementia risk by 30% and Alzheimer’s by 45%. You’ll be more likely to recognize your loved ones and preserve your ability to make new memories, not lose the ones you have.

2. Maintain Your Independence

Exercise can do more to help you maintain your independence besides decreasing your risk of cognitive decline. It also preserves your range of motion, balance and coordination, all of which you need if you hope to live alone.

Fortunately, you don’t have to participate in hardcore activities like triathlon training or HIIT classes to reap the benefits. Yoga is fabulous for helping you build your balance. If you have vestibular issues or feel shaky on your feet, use a wall or a chair to assist you in poses like tree and dancer.

Activities that involve eye-hand coordination are also beneficial for improving balance. You have to account for your center of gravity when swooping to return that tennis serve. You likewise need to activate your core muscles if you hope to drive a golf ball any distance.

3. Make Daily Living Tasks Less Burdensome

Nearly everyone gets to the point where they encounter a jar lid that they cannot open. While you can find under-counter gadgets to make the task less burdensome on your hands if you have arthritis, it’s also beneficial to preserve your strength through movement.

Fortunately, you don’t have to hit the weight room if money is an issue or you still feel uncomfortable returning to the gym post-COVID. You can reap toning benefits at home with an inexpensive set of resistance bands that slide under your couch for convenient storage.

However, if you prefer working out with a group or a trainer, why not sign up for a few lessons at your favorite fitness facility? You can also find specialty classes tailored for older adults.

4. Keep an Active Friendship Circle

A natural part of aging includes losing touch with old friends and making new ones. Fitness can help you keep an active social circle as you age. It matters — over 40% of adults over 60 report occasional loneliness, increasing their risk of deaths from various diseases, including those of despair.

If you don’t want to go the gym route, why not seek a walking or biking club? Your local parks and recreation department probably offers numerous sports leagues, including those for all age groups.

5. Embrace New Goals

Part of staying young involves rising to new challenges. You’re never too old to train for a race or take on a new hobby. The oldest marathoner on record didn’t begin his running career until the age of 89.

Find something that you love. The beauty part of getting older is letting go of your need for perfection. Does it matter if you and your spouse are the world’s worst salsa dancers if it gets your heart rate up a few times a week? Plus, you’ll find that you have much less competition in your age group if you decide to train for an adventure race.

Maintain Your Exercise Regimen in Your Older Years

Maintaining your exercise regimen in your later years has multiple advantages. You’ll improve your health and your social circle while maintaining your independence and youthful spirit.

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