It does not matter how old you are, exercise is essential to good health. We’re not saying you need to be competing in triathlons in your 80s, but daily, moderate physical activity is crucial.
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If you lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle, the Atlanta orthopedic doctors at AICA Orthopedics recommend starting with 5-10 minutes of exercise a day and slowly increase your time. Normal physiological changes occur in our bodies as we age including: decreased muscle mass, lower tissue elasticity, slower reaction time, decreased bone density, and weakening heart and lung function.
These are typically what cause our exercise regimens to change as we grow older. Furthermore, the importance of joint stability and balance training grows with age. The main goals of an exercise regimen should involve three key elements:
Aerobic fitness strengthens your cardiovascular (heart and lungs) and immune systems, lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduces your risk for type 2 diabetes. Aside from the physical benefits, there are also many mental benefits to aerobic fitness such as reduced stress, anxiety and depression. Aerobic fitness includes activities like walking, swimming, kickboxing, and dancing.
One of the greatest ways to build bone and muscle mass, strength training works to strengthen and tone your muscles by contracting them against a resisting force. Not only will you become stronger, but you will also increase your level of endorphins and sleep better. Even if you do not have weights or a gym membership, there are simple exercises like squats, push ups and lunges that you can do anywhere.
Increasing your flexibility has a lot of benefits. Stretching throughout the day improves your range of motion, helps to prevent injury and can even make you stronger. Stretching is a great way to wake up in the morning, relax before bed or cool down after exercise. Yoga classes are a great way to increase your flexibility–and make friends!