Prescription for a healthier, better retirement is exercise – check it out!
Older adults are highly encouraged to exercise in order to improve blood flow to the heart, body, and brain. There different activities that seniors can perform that don’t involve intense workout. Walking, light jogging, swimming, and cycling are more than recommended; at least 2 times per week. Apart from improving cardiovascular health, exercise manages stress and lifts up g the neutral mood, making older adults enjoy a happier retirement period.
Many studies done over the years encourage people to engage in some sort of physical activity to keep the body moving. Here’s a detailed guide on why and how exercise makes your retirement healthier.
Exercise increases brain function
As we age, our brain’s ability to process information slows down. This happens because we no longer perform activities that keeps us engaged. Following retirement, it is important to boost brain function. It matters because physical activity protects the brain against degenerative diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The more oxygen we provide to the brain, the better chances we have to stay sane. It’s as simple as that. Blood flow increases, eliminating toxins and pumping the brain with nutrients. Some older adults can’t exercise due to some sort of cognitive impairment. But this doesn’t mean you can’t keep the brain active. Reading, socializing with friends, playing cards, and engaging in all sorts of stimulating games might also help keep the brain in alert.
An all-natural treatment against depression
1 in 10 older adults in the US is depressed. Common treatments usually include antidepressant medications and supplementation often prescribed by your physician. But there’s a better alternative: exercise. Pills are not always the best alternative. Through exercise, a cascade of biological events begins within the body. The health benefits are:
- Protection against diabetes and heart disease
- Improve sleep
- Lowered blood pressure
- Better mood
If your body allows you to do physical activity, you shouldn’t hesitate. At first, it might seem challenges. But if you commit, soon enough you’ll reap a lot of benefits. At some point, feel-good chemicals will kick in. Endorphins will boost your mood and you’ll get by the day feeling happier and more fulfilled.
Many older adults are terrified of retirement. However, there are ways to stay active and avoid depression. Stay in touch with friends, make time to visit regularly, and get out of the house as often as you can. Exercise helps preserve nerve cell growth, boosting nerve cell connections that keep you away from going into a depressive state.
Why exercise is still the best medicine, even for older adults
When we’re young, we don’t realize how important exercise is for your general wellbeing. But as we grow older (and we become wiser), we realize that chronic diseases may come upon us; and if we don’t do anything, our bodies will collapse.
The process of aging happens at a cellular level within the body; it is the result of oxidative stress and inflammation. As we accumulate cell damage, our metabolism changes and we begin gaining weight.
Losing muscle mass weakens the body and makes it more susceptible to disease. A sedentary lifestyle speeds the process and compels the body to react; at one point, it will collapse. As we reach retirement, we fixate on keeping blood sugar levels and cholesterol under control. But it’s not enough. Exercise is the best medicine to fight disease.
The more time we make to work out, the better our bodies will feel; and if the body feels good, what happens on the inside contributes to a better functioning of the heart and brain as well.
Research highlights that 30-40 minutes of moderate exercise every 3-4 days helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. If your body doesn’t permit you to jog or lift heavy weights, turn to swimming or mild walking.
Exercise changes your body’s functions
The purpose of working out is not necessarily to lose weight and build muscle, but to change the way your body functions inside out. Even though we can’t stop the process of aging, maintaining an active lifestyle slows down several destructive processes that compel your body to suffer. Immobility and disease often kick in when your immune system is weak, and your life quality decreases.
Believe it or not, regular walks can help make a huge difference to your overall health. It helps boost your general mood, pumping your blood and boosting endorphins that give the sensation of a happiness and well-being.
Walking doesn’t just improve cholesterol; it keeps blood pressure under control and strengthens the bones. If you do it regularly, your memory will improve, thus postponing many age-related diseases.
Uncover exercises that you like doing
Do not force your body to perform exercises that seem tiring or too intense. It’s very important to stick to exercises you actually enjoy doing. Yoga, mild aerobics, ballroom dancing, swimming, and tai chi are excellent choices. Working out with people is an opportunity to maintain a social life; just because you’re 50+ it doesn’t mean you can’t make new friends and feel young again.
Blend exercise with proper dieting
Even though exercise can do miracles to your mind and body, you shouldn’t expect outstanding results if you don’t change your diet. A balanced daily meal plan is equally important. After the age of 50, the body needs a lot more vitamins and nutrients from healthy foods; this means vegetables, fruits, dairy products, fiber, and lean meat should become your first priority. Ditch fried foods, carbs, and soda drinks. Sweets should also be enjoyed in moderation.
Many older adults don’t enjoy drinking water. If you can’t drink 8 glasses of water per day, replace it with watermelon, lemonade, and shakes. Liquids play a fundamental role in keeping your digestive system working properly. Also, if you work out, your body will need water to be able to cope with the effort you’re putting when going to the gym.
Is strength training a good idea for older adults?
It usually depends. If your body is in good shape, strength training is more than recommended. You can start with less heavy weights and resistance bands; don’t force your body too much and allow an interval of 1-2 weeks before increasing repetitions.
As you build endurance, you can also increase the size of the weights. Strength training helps strengthen your bone mass; as well as improve blood flow to the heart and brain.
It is highly recommended if you’re overweight and need to get back in control of your body. Before hitting the gym, consult with a physician. Make sure to have approval from a professional to exercise; some older adults may suffer from severe back pains. In this case, doing intense strength training may not be a very good idea.
In other circumstances, before being allowed to lift weights, you might have to change your diet and make sure your body gets proper nutrients and minerals to be able to cope with intense effort.
Hiking and trekking for exercise
Now that you’re retired, and you’re prepared to dedicate the rest of your life to yourself, reserve each weekend for a trip. Both hiking and trekking are excellent activities that you can go for to get back in shape, and make your body feel livelier and happier than ever before. Start with accessible routes, and try not to force yourself from the first attempt. Make sure to gear up. You need proper equipment, including special hiking shoes.
Going out and enjoying the beauty of nature will fill your mind with beautiful, positive thoughts. Take the time to relax and enjoy yourself. There’s nothing healthier to body and soul than a trip into the wild. You’ll discover plenty of amazing places, and at the same time, you’ll train your body and keep the bone strong and healthy.
You might be tempted to believe that you can do anything. Even though you get in top shape, remember that you’re no longer in your 20s. Don’t take foolish risks when working out. Take all the time you need to recover your strength, and if one day you don’t feel in the mood for lifting weights, stick to swimming instead. Taking precaution measure when working out is vital. Your body is fragile, and it needs proper nurturing.
Every month, it might be a good idea to get a relaxing massage; or try different relaxation treatments, such as acupuncture or physiotherapy. After a certain age, we can’t really afford to exaggerate. The best advice would be to take things one step at the time.
If you’re just starting out, try not to raise your hopes too high. A care home is not necessarily the worst idea; some facilities are fully equipped with gyms and they also provide assistance in case you need advice on how to exercise after retirement. Embrace your body just as it is. It’s never too late to start; although at first, you will find certain activities to tiring, it’s important that you commit and never give up. Results will eventually come, and your life will be completely changed.