Did you know September is National Healthy Aging Month? It’s a good reminder that a few simple changes today could help you lead a longer, healthier life.
One of the easiest changes to make is the amount of exercise you do each day or each week. The National Institute on Aging recommends four types of exercise: Endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Each provides different benefits. Anyone, of any age or physical ability, can benefit from exercise whether it is walking, swimming, dancing, yoga or weight lifting.
Here are a few of the benefits of regular physical activity from the National Institute on Aging:
- Reduce feelings of depression and stress. Exercise forces the mind and the body to be present and aware. This is great for your mental health!
- Enhance your mood and overall emotional well-being. Exercise can have serious impacts on your cognitive function. Regular exercise may help improve focus and increase your ability to shift between tasks. This helps aging adults remain independent for longer.
- Increase your energy level. You may be surprised how movement can give you energy. The key to more energy is consistency.
- Improve sleep. Exercise provides a mental and physical release which can help quiet your body and mind when it comes time to sleep.
- Reduce risk of diseases. Exercise can help lower blood pressure, strengthen your heart and your muscles. Exercise can even help manage chronic conditions in some cases.
The great thing about exercise is it does not have to look the same for everyone. You can go for a walk, try tai chi, do yoga, go for a swim or even take the stairs. No matter your age or ability, you can find an activity that works for you and will help you age more gracefully.
If you want to get started doing exercise, start with a low level of effort and work your way up. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggests doing 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week but you can start small.
Set a goal, make it attainable, and find friends to join you for company and accountability. Any exercise is better than none! If you would like more tips for getting started with exercise, you can order this free guide from the National Institute on Aging.
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