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Benefits of Exercise
for the Elderly

Keep on Moving

Regular physical activity can improve balance, strength and heart health, but is it safe for seniors to exercise? According to the U.S. Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the answer is a resounding “yes.”

According to the CDC, older adults over age 65 who regularly participate in physical activity gain strength and flexibility that can reduce the risk of falls and fractures. Exercise can also help seniors find relief from chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis. Other benefits include lower risk of disease, increased mental capacity, improved mood and quality of life, and reduced symptoms of depression or anxiety.

If you’re concerned about the risk of injury for your loved one, rest assured that older adults can reap health benefits from even small amounts of moderate activity. Aerobic activities like walking can help with cardiovascular health, and muscle-strengthening exercises can help build strong bones and joints. Together, these improvements can make it easier for your aging parent to complete activities of daily living and maintain or regain independence.

The key, according to the CDC, is to start slowly with just a few minutes of exercise to start. It’s more important for exercise to be consistent than strenuous, so even a 10 minute walk five days a week can have tremendous health benefits. Work with your loved one to find something he or she enjoys, such as older adult fitness classes or walking indoors at a mall. Be sure to check with a doctor before beginning any exercise program.

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