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How seniors can stay active and healthy

Two seniors walking on a trail.

Exercise is essential for maintaining your health and well-being. Reduced physical activity is typically one component of aging and this can result in a loss of strength, agility, and mobility. Although there are concerns regarding seniors exercising, the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle outweigh the risks. Exercise can increase your mental health because it boosts neurotransmitters in your brain called endorphins, which are chemicals that relieve stress and pain. Other benefits include helping to manage body weight, improving sleep, and building strength which in turn can help prevent falls.

It is recommended that seniors get at least two and a half hours of moderate aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, riding a bike, or mowing the lawn per week, or one hour and 15 minutes weekly of vigorous exercise such as jogging, swimming, or skipping rope. A study found that active seniors have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers while having improved digestive and immune functioning, bone density, and blood pressure.

The most accessible and least stressful form of exercise is walking. It is advised that the general population walk 10,000 steps per day for a healthy lifestyle. A study conducted by PLOS showed that walking 10,000 steps daily decreased the ten-year mortality outlook by nearly 50%.

Some of the best exercises to help seniors stay active and healthy include water aerobics, resistance band workouts, pilates, and chair yoga. Water aerobics has become an extremely popular form of exercise in recent years, particularly for seniors. This is ideal for those with arthritis or other types of joint pain because less stress is put on your joints due to the buoyancy of the water. Resistance band workouts can improve balance, posture, and mobility by helping to strengthen your core. Resistance bands can be used for several exercises such as bicep curls, squats, and overhead triceps extensions. Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise that concentrates on core strength and breathing. It has been shown to increase flexibility and balance. Chair yoga is also a low-impact form of exercise that causes less stress on the bones, muscles, and joints than regular yoga while improving muscle strength and even mental health.

If exercising isn’t for you or if you want to incorporate even more physical activity into your day, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk around the neighbourhood, or do work in the yard.

The Boom Health app is a one-stop app that allows you to book and manage all your care needs. Check it out on the App Store or Google Play Store.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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