What are the benefits of regular activity for older adults?
Research clearly evidences that exercise improves people’s cognitive performance, including executive functioning, attention and memory.
In older adults especially, physical activity has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory, learning and emotion.
Higher doses of physical exercise are associated with reduced risk for cognitive impairment and dementia. Studies provide compelling evidence that exercise can help preserve cognitive performance in older adults.
Mental Health Benefits
Quality sleep is vital for your overall health. Regular activity can help you fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, and wake feeling more energetic and refreshed.
Boosts Mood & Self Esteem
Exercise is a huge stress reliever and the endorphins produced can actually help reduce feelings of sadness, depression, or anxiety. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident.
Increase Brain Function
Exercise leads to brain plasticity.
Outcomes of physical exercise on cognitive performance include improved overall brain health and brain resilience, increased neurotrophic factors that stimulate neurogenesis, and increased cerebrovascular perfusion.
Moderate intensity physical exercise appears to be effective in improving cognitive functions in several studies of aerobic and resistance exercise.
Physical Health Benefits
Helps you maintain or lose weight.
As metabolism naturally slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle mass, helping to burn more calories.
Reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease.
People who exercise tend to have improved immune and digestive functioning, better blood pressure and bone density, and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
Exercise has neuro-protective effects and reduces risk for disease processes.
Enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance.
Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Overcoming obstacles to getting active as you age
Research suggests that overall, adults over 50 years of age who participate in supervised physical exercise – aerobic exercise, resistance training, multicomponent training, or tai chi – experience improved cognitive function, regardless of the presence or absence of mild cognitive impairment.
Research shows that resistance training is effective for improved executive function, memory, and working memory, while tai chi is effective for working memory only.
Exercise lasting 45 min to 60 minutes at or above moderate intensity was associated with cognitive benefits.
Meanwhile, low (twice a week), medium (3-4 times a week) and high (5-7 times a week) exercise frequencies and conducting exercise in the short to long term (2 to 26 weeks) all produce positive effects.