Fotolia 114065844 Subscription Monthly XXLOlder bodies need exercise as much as younger ones.

However, only one in four senior citizens between the ages of 65 and 74 exercise regularly, according to the National Institute on Aging. Many older people may cite time, money and a lack of energy as being reasons for not exercising more. Exercise can help aging bodies in the following ways:

Bulk Up Those Bones

Physical activity leads to higher bone density, which cuts the risk of osteoporosis and your chances of falling and breaking bones. Women are more susceptible than men, potentially losing up to 2% bone mass every year. Strength training can help contribute to improved balance and fewer fractures.

Fight Off Infection

A healthy, stronger body is able to fight off disease and infection more efficiently. When you do get sick, an active body will recover quicker than a sedentary body, not depleting it of all its energy.

Live Longer

Exercise need not be rigorous to increase your lifespan considerably. Even gentle, moderate exercise such as walking and swimming can lengthen life by up to five years.

Defend Against Dementia

Avoiding exercise in later stages of life can increase one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, a study issued in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease stated.

Types of Exercises for Seniors

Although modern, rigorous exercise routines are not practical for seniors, there are plenty of safe activities for older individuals.

  1. Aerobic: Doctors suggest 30 minutes daily of endurance exercise – walking, cycling and swimming, for example – enough to elevate your heart rate and speed breathing. If fatigue is a factor, exercise can be divided into three 10-minute blocks of exercise.
  2. Strength training: Seniors may use weights, resistance bands or machines, while performing bodyweight exercises such as sit-ups and lunges. A couple sessions a week of one or two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions will provide ample benefit for most seniors. Sets and repetitions may be increased as strength improves.
  3. Flexibility: Stretching helps improve flexibility, prevents injury and reduces stiffness. Programs focusing on core muscles promote better posture and balance, while reducing muscle pain.

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