Here’s my list of the top ten reasons why you should exercise regularly, even into old age.
1. Decrease chances of developing osteoporosis: weight bearing exercise not only helps build muscle strength, but it also helps to prevent bone loss as we age.
2. Cardiovascular health: exercise decreases blood pressure, helps circulation, and lowers cholesterol. Athletes can even increase the size and strength of their heart to pump blood more efficiently throughout their body.
3. Improve mood: exercise has been shown to ease depression and anxiety by releasing “feel-good” chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. It can also decrease cortisol which having too much of, negatively affects the immune system. By exercising and feeling good, confidence improves and dealing with stress happens in a more healthy way.
4. Better sleep: physical activity not only improves quality of sleep, but it also improves overall energy throughout the day.
5. Diabetes: exercise can help prevent type 2 diabetes, and is important for balancing insulin doses and the food you eat. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, physical activity can be as powerful as glucose-lowering medication… with fewer side effects.
6. Weight loss: when you burn more calories than consume you lose weight. The best way to burn calories is by exercising regularly.
7. Prevent Cognitive Decline: although exercise can’t cure Alzheimer’s it sure can slow it down. Working out boosts the chemicals in our brains that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning.
8. Better immune system: physical activity is also good for the immune system. It helps more white blood cells circulate and function differently through blood and lymph. It also helps decrease cortisol in the body which prevents breakdown of the immune system.
9. Maintain your lifestyle and activities as you age: strong muscles and bones are important for when you get older in order to maintain independence and to have the strength and coordination to prevent falls or accidents. Routine physical activity also helps with mental health, cognition and clarity.
10. Live longer: by decreasing chances of cardiovascular disease, helping brain power, preventing type 2 diabetes, boosting the immune system, and improving overall mood, it’s pretty easy to see that regular exercise would help you live longer.
Clayton Giles, RMT