Elderly exercise EmbnassyExercise has numerous benefits for those of all ages, like stronger bones, a healthier heart and better flexibility. But for those over 50, regular exercise can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improve one's mood and lower the chance of injury.

As we age, we lose coordination, strength and balance. But how early do these changes occur? Many of us think that we won't notice severe physical decline until our 60s or 70s. However, research from the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at Duke University found we actually start to experience signs of physical aging in our 50s.

"Our research reinforces a lifespan approach to maintaining physical ability," claims lead researcher Katherine Hall, Ph.D. "With proper attention and effort, the ability to function independently can often be preserved with regular exercise."

There are many ways to protect and improve your physical fitness. To ensure healthy aging, the U.S. News and World Report recommends getting 150 minutes of moderately-intense aerobic exercise each week. In addition to walking and cycling, mix up your regimen by:

  • Doing 30 seconds of jumping jacks
  • Performing 15 squats with weights
  • Carrying a 20-pound bag of dog food and walk 25 feet
  • Assuming the push-up position and holding yourself up for 30 seconds

Before starting any workout routine, meet with your doctor for suggestions that meet your personal needs.

In addition to increased physical fitness, seniors who exercise regularly also have an improved quality of life. Exercise improves mood, ensure strong cognitive functioning and reduces downtime from illness and injury.

It's never too late for individuals aged 50+ to adopt a regular exercise routine. Find something you enjoy doing, and start at a level that's easy to maintain. Remember, consistency is more important than intensity.

If done on a long-term basis, the increased mobility that comes from regular exercise helps seniors maintain their independence. Embassy Healthcare throughout Ohio offers fitness programs at many of our communities. To learn more about how we can help you or your aging loved one, contact us at 216-378-2050 to schedule a tour.