Exercising provides increased quality of life for individuals of every age. As we reach our later years, the need for physical fitness becomes more necessary. We will discuss 5 key reasons why exercise is so important.
Devoting adequate time to physical activity that gets your body moving is vital. That is regardless of your age, gender, or schedule. So you can enjoy as much functionality as possible throughout the aging process. Exercise is an absolute must for those of us looking to enjoy a quality of life.
5 key reasons why exercise is so important:
1. Supporting Skeletal Health
We measure the strength of the skeleton by a parameter known as bone mineral density (BMD). It describes the resiliency and strength of the tissue comprising your bones.
Unfortunately, BMD begins to decline as we age, starting at as early as 40 years old! Women tend to experience a more rapid decline in bone mineral density. The cause is hormonal changes inherent to menopause. Estrogen is a key hormone involved in maintaining bone strength. The significant drop in estrogen that occurs during menopause directly affects BMD.
Consistent exercise is an effective way to mitigate this process for both men and women. Exercise is important for building sturdy bones when we’re younger. Also, exercise is essential for preserving bone strength when we’re older.
Exercise works on bones as it works on muscles — with the aid of making them stronger. Bone is a living tissue. It adjusts in response to the forces positioned upon it. When you exercise, your bone constructs extra cells and becomes denser.
2. Avoiding Excessive Cognitive Decline
Our cognitive ability experiences a somewhat progressive decline as we age. While this process isn’t as rapid as the popular misconception may have led you to believe, the process itself is real. Cognitive abilities such as memory and processing speed tend to show the most significant deterioration with age.
Exercise has a direct correlation with the rate of cognitive decline throughout the aging process. Many studies have supported the theory. Older individuals who exercise regularly experience a drastic increase in cognitive function when compared to their sedentary peers.
Routine physical activity, such as exercise help prevent dementia. Exercise can help the blood flow in the body become more quickly channeled by the heart to the brain. Thus, blood circulation in the brain will run smoothly and sufficiently. In fact, it can help maintain the function of brain organs. It prevents diseases that may attack, one of which is dementia.
3. Improving Balance
One of the biggest detriments to function in the elderly population is falling. Serious injuries such as broken bones are setbacks to physical activity at any age. The slow rate of healing causes these injuries to be even more catastrophic.
Exercise is a great way to improve and maintain balance and body awareness. Most forms of exercise involve moving the body through various motions against resistance. It makes navigating through everyday life much more effortless.
Here are some of the sports you can do if you want to train body balance:
This sport is able to balance the body and mind. There are several movements in yoga that can improve this, such as standing movements on one leg. Movements in yoga can increase flexibility, improve posture and strength, and practice breathing. Read more about yoga poses for women over 40 here.
Having movements like yoga, making pilates is often referred to as the modern version of yoga. Pilates was first developed in the 20th century by a veteran from Germany, Joseph Pilates. It is a type of sport focused on rehabilitation and strengthening of the body. This exercise is able to improve the strength and balance of the body. It can help improve your body posture and relieve stress if you do it routinely.
In his home country, China, tai chi is believed to slow aging. However, in its development, this sport was transformed as one sport that is able to improve physical and mental health. People who do tai chi for 6 months will be twice as strong in doing strenuous activities. They have good body balance. That was a result of a study conducted by the Oregon Research Institute.
One way to improve body balance is to strengthen the middle body or abdominal muscles. Doing some core training at homes such as sit-ups and planks can improve body balance. Planking can help strengthen almost all muscles in the middle, upper, and lower back.
4. Maintaining Strength Reserves
Another biological process associated with aging is the decrease in muscle mass. There is a specific mechanism responsible for this decline. It is the downregulation of anabolic hormones like testosterone and HGH.
Similar to the previous misfortunes pertaining to aging, this process is anything but a fixed rate decline. Exercise is obviously beneficial to increasing muscle mass and strength. Individuals who maintain a consistent workout routine hold on to far more of these attributes than those who do not engage in any form of resistance training.
Types of exercise suitable for muscle strength training:
Climbing and hiking burn the same amount of calories compared to jogging with the same intensity. Climbing the hill in your adventure can increase your body strength.
The type of chair yoga pose is a type of exercise suitable for exercising muscle strength. The way to do it is quite easy. Try to pose like a person who is sitting on a chair. Try to keep your back straight and spread your arms out in front of your chest, hold for 30 seconds.
The next type of exercise suitable for exercising muscle strength is squats. Those of you who often do sports may be familiar with squat movements. Squat movement is effective to train the strength of the muscles of the lower body. For example the muscles of the inner thighs, outer thighs, buttocks, and abdomen.
Squatting will require you to half squat and hold the buttocks and abdomen. Set the length of your knees bends so they don’t exceed the toes. Do squat movements correctly. If you do this movement incorrectly it can injure the knee and back of your body.
5. Slowing The Aging Process At The Cellular Level
Exercise has the ability to slow down the aging process of our individual cells! Every cell has telomeres. These are basically loose ends attached to strands of DNA that become shorter and shorter each time the cell divides.
Various studies have shown the effect of exercise to delay aging and prolong life. People who exercise regularly are healthier as they get older.
Now, recent research has succeeded in unlocking the mystery of why it happens. In a comparison of runners and people who rarely exercise, under the microscope, the cells of the runners look much younger than those who do not exercise.
Specifically, the researchers assessed the length of the telomeres. The telomere’s length affects the speed of our aging process. Each time the cell divides, telomeres will shorten. If telomeres are too short, cells will no longer be able to divide and they will die. This in turn makes the aging process faster.
In a study conducted by scientists from Germany on mice that ran on wheels. The result showed the addition of telomere protein. This can prevent cell death. In studies of humans, athletes aged around 30 years who routinely run as far as 50 miles every week have a long telomere. These athletes also have low blood pressure, less body fat, and a more stable heart rate.
The results of this study were published in the journal American Heart Association, Circulation. The length of telomeres relates to the level of physical activity. People who exercise diligently have a telomere age of 10 years younger (researchgate.net). This telomere difference is also seen in twins who have different levels of physical activity.
In addition to a lack of physical activity, short telomeres can also occur due to a stressful life. In the book You Staying Young, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael F Roizen said their statement,
“Severe life pressures can have a profound effect on how the body’s cells divide or stop dividing. With meditation, you will improve telomeres and slow down aging.”
As a common cellular process, telomere length decreases with age. Telomere length in people appears to decrease every year. Shorter telomere length for a particular age relates to diminished life expectancy. Eventually, telomeres get too short to do their job, causing our cells to age and stop functioning properly. Therefore, telomeres act as the aging clock in every cell.
Telomere length depends on a blend of elements including
– epigenetic make-up and environment,
– social and economic status,
– body weight, and
A certain way of life factors, for instance:
absence of activity and
utilization of undesirable eating routine,
can build the pace of telomere shortening, prompting diseases as well as sudden passing.
Quickened telomere shortening relates to many age-related medical issues, including
– expanded malignancy chance, and
After a specific amount of divisions, telomeres are shortened to the point of non-existence. The individual cell actually dies. Regular exercise induces genetic alterations that limit the amount of telomere shortening that occurs with each cell division.
Have you incorporated exercise into your daily routine? What is your favorite exercise? Please add your comment and I will be more than happy to reply to your comment.