The Wonder of Exercise For Seniors

A recent Time Magazine headline caught my eye: “The Exercise Cure”.  This is something I’ve been touting for years. That exercise is great medicine for the body and a cure for much of what ails us. According to the article in Time, only 20% of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of strength and cardiovascular physical activity per week. Break that down, that’s 25 minutes of physical activity a day with rest on Sunday if you choose. In addition, more than half of all baby boomers report doing no exercise whatsoever – none, nada, zip, zero! There’s something wrong with this picture.

The Fast Track To Recovery

Of all the people that benefit from exercise, none benefit more than us old folks. Why? Because exercise is like a tonic that allows the body to stay independent; and also promotes better and quicker healing when ailments or injuries occur. Even if science could come up with a pill that works as good as exercise, we probably wouldn’t be able to afford it!
Here are a few of the benefits we know about exercise. It’s great for your brain. Move your muscles and blood flow to your brain increases. Great things happen when your brain receives greater blood flow. This can also protect brain cells from degeneration and possibly the onset of Alzheimer’s.

An Active Body And A Healthy Mind

Proper exercising will make you happier. Notice I said “proper exercising”. Our western mentality of no pain, no gain has got to go. Exercise should be fun and a little vigorous activity should make one feel better after a workout. “Just Do It” as Nike says is fine; but don’t overdo it! Besides, who doesn’t want to be happy?

Exercise has been shown to make you age slower and also make your fat cells shrink. Boy howdy I need some of that! As you exercise your body gets better at delivering oxygen to all your cells – which enables one to metabolize more fat as an energy source. As a result, fat cells which produce the substances for chronic low-grade inflammation shrink, and so does inflammation.

Relief From Arthritis And Diabetes

This is why people who have arthritis should exercise. Research suggests that exercise may be the key in recovery from many chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes to heart failure. Are you getting the picture yet?
Research also indicates that little bursts of all-out exercise (10 minutes) with small intervals of rest can be as effective as longer steady workouts (50 minutes). My advice is to take the extra time to workout at a steady pace. All-out bursts can result in injury and that is one of the things we are trying to avoid with exercising.

But take it from me, injuries do happen. In the last six months I have injured my shoulder to the point of needing surgery. I tore the ligaments in two of my toes while walking (it’s a long story), and most-recently cracked all my ribs on my left side from a bike fall. Yep, I’m an accident waiting to happen. But the more amazing thing you should know is that I have been healing really well from all my mishaps. Why? Exercise!

Be good to your body and exercise my friends.