The link between fitness and general health
It’s well known that physical fitness has a significant impact on your health and well-being, but how does this evolve as you get older? You’ll be pleased to know that there are additional benefits to building and maintaining fitness, during retirement and beyond.
Physical fitness is linked to both short and long-term health benefits. Regular exercise helps contribute and unlock these benefits as your fitness increases over time.
These benefits help improve your:
- Cardiovascular health
- Weight management
- Blood cholesterol levels
- Blood pressure
- Bone density and strength
- Muscles and joints
- Immune system
- Overall mood and mental well being
Whether it’s taking the stairs or walking to the shops, daily choices can help build active habits, contributing to overall fitness.
Staying fit as you age
Physical fitness is not only key to general health, it plays an important part in healthy ageing, especially your quality of life and longevity. But beyond just extending our years, fitness is vital in how you progress with age.
Maintain and improve your mobility
Increased range of motion
Having strength and flexibility enhances your range of motion, for example, being able to reach something on the ground. Having your full range of motion goes a long way in boosting your physical independence for as long as possible.
Reduced chance of injury
The ability to maintain balance and agility also reduces your chances of injury, from falling or other coordination related accidents. You are less likely to trip on the stairs or fall on the bus if it takes a sharp turn.
Strengthen your heart
Did you know that regular cardio helps your heart grow stronger? This means it will become more efficient at pumping blood around your body. With increased muscle strength, your heart is less likely to fail you anytime soon, making it more achievable to avoid heart disease.
Make everyday activities easier
Improved endurance means that everyday activities will be much easier. For example, vacuuming the floor, or carrying heavy items around, such as grocery bags. Again, this means more independence for yourself, as you won’t need to rely on day-to-day help.
Helps sleep, memory & energy
Get a better sleep
Sleep cycles are supported by circadian rhythms – the body’s ability to become alert during daytime and drowsy at night. Exercising regularly can help strengthen your body clock, allowing you to get a quality slumber and more of it! This, in turn, helps with memory retention and replenishes energy levels.
By getting quality sleep, you’ll be able to improve your ability to remember. This is because while you sleep, your brain is consolidating and organising memories. This process is essential for delaying age-related cognitive decline, keeping memory-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, at bay.
Have more energy
Exercise gets the blood flowing, increasing your heart rate and releasing endorphins. Increased blood flow and oxygen support your body with more energy, enabling you to do more with your day. Imagine if you had an extra burst of energy each day, what would you do?
Supports mental well-being
Elevate your mood & support your immune system
Natural chemicals called endorphins are released by the brain when triggered from exercise. Endorphins contribute to general happiness and are natural combatants to stress. Not only that, these hormones support your immune function and reduce the chances of depression.
Stay sharp with improved thinking, reasoning and concentration skills. Being active supports and stimulates new blood vessels in the brain. Psychologists have even done research that has proven creativity is improved from exercise. Enjoy painting or other creative outlets? Staying active will offer more than just health benefits – your artwork could see a difference too!
Fitting exercise into a retirement lifestyle
There are many ways to include extra activity into your life, whether it is deliberate, or simply changing some habits.
Daily habits and opportunities:
- Take the staircase instead of an elevator
- Walk somewhere instead of driving
- Take the dog for a walk
- Swap your chair for a resistance ball
Popular cardiovascular activities include:
Activities to improve flexibility and strength include:
For more ideas, check out this article also by Greenfields Living: Six ways to keep fit into your retirement
There are plenty of reasons to stay fit, and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle only increase as you grow older. Apart from reducing the onset of age-related conditions, keeping fit allows you to maintain independence, as well as improve your quality of life.
If you live in a retirement village you’ll have the added advantage of being surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals, who can provide moral support and company on your fitness journey. This is a great way to increase motivation by making exercise more enjoyable and social.
It’s never too late to start.
If an active, and independent retirement sounds like something you’d be interested in, get in touch to find out how active senior living at Greenfields could benefit your health.