Why Staying Active Is Important in Retirement
No matter your age, exercise is essential for maintaining your health and wellness, especially as you age. For adults 65 and older, the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity. It also advises that seniors stay active with muscle strengthening activities 2 days a week and activities that improve your balance 3 days a week.
However, sometimes even the most active seniors have trouble finding the motivation to get moving.
So if you’ve been searching for inspiration to work up a sweat, read these 5 benefits of exercise for older adults, and see how life at Summit Vista can help you reach your fitness goals.
1. Manage your body weight
Common reasons many people find it difficult to manage their weight as they age are genetics, reduced metabolism, fluctuations in hormones and changes in lifestyle. One of the best ways to manage your weight at any age is with a regular, balanced exercise routine.
All exercise is excellent for weight management, but walking, water aerobics, resistance band workouts, chair yoga, strength training, and dancing are especially good for seniors. Fitness experts recommend avoiding any exercise that includes high impact on your joints and tendons, such as abdominal crunches, bench press, deadlifts and squats with dumbbells or weights.
2. Increase bone density and strength
Osteoporosis affects 1 in 5 women 50 and over, and 1 in 20 men 50 and over. Older adults who regularly perform weight-bearing exercises can increase their bone mineral density and strength, which can help prevent age-related bone loss. Weight-bearing exercises also increase your muscle strength and improve your balance, which decreases the risk of falling.
Low-impact weight-bearing exercises for seniors include walking on a treadmill or outside, group aerobics classes, and using elliptical or stair stepper machines. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, tennis and pickleball are great ways to improve bone health and work up a sweat.
3. Boost your cardiovascular health
A regular exercise routine can lower your blood pressure, reduce the risk of developing diabetes, and lower your resting heart rate. It can also reduce stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, that put an extra burden on your heart and increase high-density lipoprotein, better known as your “good” cholesterol.
Aerobic exercise is best for heart health. Experts recommend swimming, brisk walking, using a recumbent stationary bike and hiking. Active seniors searching for a high-intensity exercise, consider cross-country skiing. It’s a vigorous cardio exercise that focuses on muscle extension and flexion, rather than muscular load.
4. Reduce your risk of cognitive decline
Here’s another reason to hop into your walking shoes: A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that older adults who walk 3 times a week or more can reduce their risk of cognitive impairment up to 40% and risk for developing Alzheimer’s up to 50%. Researchers found that adults between the ages of 40 and 79 who took 9,826 steps a day with brisk walking activities experienced the most cognitive health benefits.
JAMA also found that people can reduce their risk of dementia by an outstanding 62% by taking 112 steps per minute for 30 minutes a day at a brisk pace. While this is considered a fairly fast walking speed, it shows the speed of your steps can make a big difference.
5. Improve your social life
Senior isolation and loneliness is a growing concern in the United States and across the globe. In fact, more than one-third of adults ages 45 and older feel lonely, and almost one-fourth of adults 65 and over are socially isolated. Social isolation can increase a person’s risk of dementia, heart disease, stroke, depression and anxiety.
Group exercise is a great way for active seniors to make new friends and manage feelings of loneliness and isolation. A study by BMC Public Health found that older adults who attend group exercise classes were more likely to stick with their routine, felt like they were taking steps to maintain their health and independence, and felt a strong sense of belonging. The study also found that many seniors stuck with group exercise simply because it was fun.
How Seniors Stay Active at Summit Vista
Life Plan Communities like Summit Vista are the perfect place to maintain an active lifestyle and focus on your wellness. We recognize there’s no one-size-fits all approach to staying active. That’s why we offer a variety of ways for residents to meet new people, explore new ways to get moving and get a fresh perspective on senior active living.
Check out just a few ways seniors are staying active at Summit Vista:
- Enjoying group exercises in the heated pool
- Spending time with our fitness specialist at the fully equipped fitness center
- Golfing on our private putting green
- Tending their space in the community garden
- Getting steps in with friends on well-maintained walking paths
- Going for a hike on one of the many nearby nature trails in Salt Lake City
Health and wellness mean more than just staying active. It means balancing and maintaining your physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial well-being. By simply doing something meaningful every day to reach your goals, you’ll naturally gravitate toward a healthy mindset that opens the door to a life full of opportunities. And it’s all within reach at Summit Vista.