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The Benefits of Exercise for Elders

Regular exercise has a meaningful effect on BP control, prevention of diabetes, and lowering of cholesterol.” - Rajiv Agarwal, MBBS, Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

One of the most obvious health lessons that we learn as kids is that exercise is good for us. Which is certainly true, exercise is a great way for us to maintain a healthy lifestyle, improve performance, and maintain a healthy and functioning body. But Exercise is not just for young people or those whoa re looking to lose weight or gain muscle. The benefits of exercise, even if not immediately and visually apparent, are significant no matter the age group AND no matter the intensity and duration.

Although this statement should be taken within reason, walking back and forth from the fridge to the couch in front of the TV certainly doesn’t count as serious exercise. But something as simple as walking 10 minutes to the store instead of driving can have a noticeable impact on health and overall wellness.

For elders specifically, according to a study completed in Korea and presented at the 2020 Hypertension conference hosted by the American Heart Association, the likelihood of uncontrolled hypertension in groups of elders who exercised routinely compared to those who did not was significantly and measurably lower. This is especially notable because the level of activity that constituted “routine exercise” was not running marathons or competing as a power lifter. In fact, something as simple as walking for 30 min 3 times a week has the same measurable and specific benefit on Hypertension.

Beyond hypertension, there are also other benefits to routine exercise and activity. There is significant evidence that exercise and activity can have a great impact on overall mental health and life satisfaction. And exercise doesn’t have to be a slog! Walking through a wooded path during the fall season is perfectly acceptable as exercise. So is playing tennis, or swimming, or just plain old walking. All of these, among others, provide a measurable benefit to mental and physical health.

Geriatric Care Managers, as experts in the long-term quality of life for elders and their families, are very familiar with exercise and the benefit it can bring. Although on the surface it may seem that a Geriatric Care Manager is focused only on medical issues and safety, this is not the case. Geriatric Care Managers are invested in creating and maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life for their clients as they age into Elderhood and later life. This includes finding and organizing ways for elders, who may experience life changes such as a hip replacement or vision issues, to continue living their best, most active lives.

Exercise, no matter your age, is one of the best things you can do for your health and your overall well-being. Elders are no exception.

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