No matter your age or stage of life, regular physical activity is vital for overall good health. Exercising can help protect you against serious conditions like heart disease and stroke by keeping you fit and healthy.
A healthy and balanced exercise program should incorporate aerobic (heart-pumping) exercises, muscle strengthening exercises and flexibility drills. Combining all three can be an effective factor in preventing chronic diseases and extending life expectancies.
1. Strengthens Muscles and Bones
Regular physical activity helps to strengthen muscles and bones, which are essential for good health. This is especially important for older adults who may experience bone density loss due to osteoporosis.
Strong bones also reduce the risk of falls, which are the leading cause of accidents among seniors. Exercise strengthens muscles and improves balance and coordination so you’re more likely to avoid injury if you take a tumble.
Bone-strengthening exercises such as stair climbing, running and dancing can be beneficial in increasing bone density and strength. Furthermore, these activities help reduce the likelihood of joint pain by keeping joints healthy and lubricated – something especially helpful for people living with arthritis.
2. Improves Balance and Coordination
One of the lesser-known advantages of regular physical activity is its ability to improve balance and coordination. Whether you’re an athlete or just trying to stay fit, your body needs to be able to move smoothly with control in order for it to function at its optimum.
Muscle strength and flexibility are important, but cardio and flexibility exercises can also naturally aid in the improvement of balance and coordination. Furthermore, many group fitness classes include coordination exercises as part of their program.
Exercise combined with balance and coordination exercises has been found to improve balance, cognitive functions in older adults. A study found that participants who did two sessions per week for 8 weeks experienced improved postural control, cognitive performance and quality of life.
3. Reduces the Risk of Injury
Few lifestyle decisions have as great an impact on your health as regular physical activity.
Research has demonstrated that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and other adverse health outcomes. To reap these benefits, you need to spend at least 150 minutes each week engaging in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise such as brisk walking.
Evidence indicates that performing aerobic, muscle-strengthening and balance exercises can reduce the risk of falls among older adults. Studies have even found evidence to back this up: people who had previously been at greater risk for falls experienced less reduction when engaging in these types of exercises.
Physical activity not only benefits older adults and children, but it has numerous other advantages as well – such as strengthening muscles and bones, improving balance, coordination and flexibility; not to mention increasing life expectancy!
4. Improves Mental Health
Physical activity can be an effective tool in combatting mental health issues. It relieves stress, improves memory, aids sleep quality and uplifts your spirits.
Studies have demonstrated that even modest amounts of exercise can reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Whether you do 30 minutes of walking each day or several short 15-minute sessions throughout the day, the effects are immediate – your mood and outlook improve dramatically.
Australia recommends adults get 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate exercise each week or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous activity. No matter how you choose to get in shape, make it enjoyable!
5. Helps You Sleep Better
Exercising can improve your sleep quality by inducing deep, restorative sleep. Additionally, it increases the duration of this essential stage of rest which is critical for immune function, muscle recovery and hormonal balance.
Research has demonstrated that people who regularly exercise can fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer than those who don’t. It is important to remember, though, that the benefits of exercise may take several months before they fully manifest themselves.
Due to these reasons, it’s wise to incorporate exercise into your daily routine gradually. Begin with just 10 minutes of light activity each day and gradually progress up to more vigorous exercises over time.