Spending enough time doing physical activity is so important for everyone, regardless of age. As kids we run around, playing outside with our friends, and accomplish it without even thinking about it. As teenagers, a lot of us are involved in sports or other activities that keep us physically active. Around the time that we become young adults, it becomes less effortless and something that we need to schedule in. From this point forward, it becomes increasingly important.
Exercise, as we age, is important for the obvious reasons; losing weight, keeping the heart and lungs healthy, maintaining muscle and bone mass, and the list goes on. Something that may be less obvious is the psychological effect of exercise.
A 12-week study was done on 42 sedentary adults, of whom the average age was 68. The subjects that were in the strength training program had improvements in not only their physiological health but also their psychological health. Specifically, they increased their overall muscle strength by 38.6 percent and saw improvements in their positive and negative mood, trait anxiety and perceived confidence for physical capability.
Retirement can be a beautiful thing. It brings more free time, perhaps more time for grandchildren or time with your spouse, or hobbies that you love. For some, retirement brings loneliness and a sedentary lifestyle. Starting an exercise program can help to combat those things. Joining a group exercise program for seniors is highly recommended.
The exercises will be tailored to the intensity that is right for that specific age group, and the socialization effects that classes have on older adults are equally important. Take care of your mind and your body, get moving today!
Molly Nevins, HFS, CPT, BS, is a fitness instructor at the YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing. Contact her at (517) 827-9656 or at ymcaoflansing.org.