Benefits of Exercise for the Elderly

by | Mar 14, 2022

The importance of keeping active as we age is something that many are becoming increasingly aware of. As mental and physical heath declines with age it seems evident that exercise is a vital way for the elderly to maintain happy, fulfilled lifestyles. In keeping with this, we’ve decided to outline the most essential benefits that exercise can offer our elderly today.

Bone density and muscle maintenance

Not only can regular exercise improve the density and strength of our bones, it can also improve overall muscle maintenance and growth. This is especially important when we consider the risks presented by falling or tripping, as many of our elderly relatives do, since they have reduced bone density and muscular strength. Exercises like jogging or walking can drastically reduce the risk of developing serious health conditions such as osteoporosis, while light weightlifting can strengthen bone and muscle mass to improve overall balance and coordination. A study conducted by The World Health Organisation found that regularly exercising reduced the risk of hip fracture by at least 40%!

Heart attack, stroke and physical health risks reduced

Regular cardiovascular exercise (cycling, jogging, walking) has been shown to increase blood flow to the most important organ of all; the heart. This means that while the heart is strengthened through the process of exercising, the risk of blood pressure being too high is reduced along with the risk of developing other coronary diseases. Arthritis, elevated cholesterol levels and diabetes risk are also reduced by participating in cardiovascular exercise.

Mental health

Perhaps the most overlooked benefit of exercise as it relates to the elderly, but no less important, is the impact on mental wellbeing and overall brain health. Regular exercise has been shown to significantly lower the risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, while also improving pain tolerance and confidence. This is especially important when we consider how our elderly can benefit from the sense of confidence that comes with being able to independently walk to the shops or actively play with grandchildren. Many elderly people also suffer from depression or a feeling of loneliness and so exercise is a vital way to mitigate these symptoms.

Socialisation

Exercise can be a great way for elderly people to meet new friends and improve sociability. Many forms of exercise are available in classes and can be an absolutely essential way to get some much-needed interaction with other people. Since the combination of socialisation and exercise can also reduce the risk of dementia, such benefits should not be taken lightly. An improvement in cognitive function can drastically change the behaviour and mood of an individual who needs it most.

NHS Guidelines

The NHS recommends that elderly people aim for an average of 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, with periods of activity lasting at least 10 minutes and beyond. Trying to accomplish 30 minutes of exercise 5 days per week is therefore a good strategy for this.

Below is a list of some activities that elderly adults can try daily, dependent on ability levels:

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Bodyweight exercises (sit ups, push ups, squats etc.)
  • Carrying shopping
  • Gardening
  • Fast walking/jogging

 

Sydenham House is a residential care home in a delightful setting in the village of Blakeney, offering accommodation for up to 19 people.  We help our residents to lead active lives in friendly, comfortable surroundings, involving them in the local community whenever we can.  If you’d like to know more about how we can help the elderly continue to live fulfilled and comfortable lives, then take a look at our website www.sydenham-house.co.uk.  Or, if you we can be of further assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01594 517 015 – we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about caring for your loved one.