Kittle: Sixty reasons why exercise is important for seniors

In particular for seniors exercise is one of the best things you can do yourself to enhance your quality of life.

We all know that exercise is good for us, but in particular for seniors it is one of the best things you can do yourself to enhance your quality of life.

About 60 per cent of people over age 64 are considered sedentary.

An inactive lifestyle causes older adults to lose ground in areas that are important for staying healthy, happy and independent.

Don’t worry about exercise being too strenuous—it is actually a greater risk not to exercise.

Even moderate physical activity can improve the health of those who are frail or who have diseases that accompany aging.

Exercising regularly produces long-term benefits, and improves health for some who already have diseases and disabilities.

While surfing the Internet this past week, I came across this list of 60 good reasons to exercise and thought I would share with my readers.

60 reasons to exercise:

Improves digestion

Enhances quality of sleep

Prevents or delays many diseases and disabilities

Improves body shape

Tones and firms muscles

Provides more muscular definition

Enables weight loss and keeps it off

Makes you limber

Improves endurance

Burns extra calories

Improves circulation and helps reduce blood pressure

Increases lean muscle tissue in the body

Improves appetite for healthy foods

Alleviates menstrual cramps

Alters and improves muscle chemistry

Increases metabolic rate

Enhances coordination and balance

Improves posture

Eases and possibly eliminates back problems and pain

Makes the body use calories more efficiently

Lowers resting heart rate

Increases muscle size through an increase in muscle fibres

Improves body composition

Increases body density

Decreases fat tissue more easily

Makes body more agile

Is the greatest body tune-up

Reduces joint discomfort

Improves athletic performance

Enriches sexuality

Adds years to your life

Increases your range of motion

Enhances immune system

Improves glycogen storage

Enables the body to utilize energy more efficiently

Increases enzymes in the body which burn fat

Increases the number and size of mitochondria in muscle cells

Increases concentration of myoglobin (carries oxygen in muscles) in skeletal muscles

Enhances oxygen transport throughout the body

Improves liver functioning

Increases speed of muscle contraction and reaction time

Enhances feedback through the nervous system

Strengthens the heart

Improves blood flow

Helps to alleviate varicose veins.

Increases maximum cardiac output

Increases contractility of the heart’s ventricles

Increases the weight and size of the heart

Improves contractile function of the whole heart

Makes calcium transport in the heart and body more efficient

Increases energy

Increases self esteem

Decreases risk of heart attack

Increases mental focus

Reduces depression

Decreases stress level

Reduces risk of breast cancer by 60 per cent

Increases stamina and strength

Decreases risk of osteoporosis.

For greatest overall health the recommendation is 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week, and muscle strengthening and stretching two or more times a week.

However, if you are unable to do this level of activity, you can gain substantial health benefits by accumulating 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, at least five times a week.

You’re never too old to exercise—it is your key to staying strong, energetic and independent.

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