Research over many years points to the fact that lack of exercise in older women is the chief cause of an early death. In fact, the number of deaths among women who do not exercise is as much as those that die because of smoking. It has also been proved that with regular physical activity, the risk of deaths is considerably reduced and women can enjoy a longer life and one of good quality.
According to current health guidelines, older women should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week or 75 minutes, combined with 75 minutes of muscle strengthening exercises a couple of days a week.
Types of beneficial exercises for older women:
Older women can get the maximum benefits of exercise by taking brisk walks, going swimming, jogging and cycling. Playing sports like basketball, football, badminton, golf and pursuing hobbies like gardening, dance, hiking and trekking can help them live longer and lead a qualitative life.
Benefits of exercise for older women:
By doing moderate intensity exercises, older women have been proved to reduce their risk of death by at least 70%, said a four-year study.
Physical health benefits:
- Maintains weight or helps with weight loss: As one ages, the body’s metabolic rate slows down, making body weight extremely difficult. By exercising regularly, the body’s metabolism increases, which makes muscle mass building easy. This, in turn, helps calorie burning, leading to weight loss.
- Increases immunity: Older women who exercise regularly have heightened immunity levels and better digestive functioning. Their blood pressure is at normal levels and bone density is high. They also have a low risk of Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity.
- Increases flexibility, mobility and overall balance: By exercising, women can improve their overall strength, posture and flexibility, which helps with balance, reduced risk of falling and coordination. Regular strength training helps ease symptoms of arthritis.
Mental health benefits
- Better quality sleep: By sleeping deeply and adequately, older women can be in good health. With exercise, this is possible. It will make them feel more energetic and rejuvenated.
- Boosts mood and self-confidence: Exercise releases feel good endorphins that relieve stress, act as mood uppers and make older women feel stronger and more self-confident.
- Keeps the brain active: Activities like crossword puzzles, quizzes and Sudoku can keep the brain alert and active, prevent memory loss, dementia and cognitive decline, and help with multitasking. It can also retard the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Medical conditions that benefit from exercise:
If older women are already diagnosed with certain chronic conditions, they can benefit vastly from regular exercise. For instance, interval training can be beneficial to patients with heart disease; walking, Tai Chi, dancing, yoga and swimming are great for diabetics; playing baseball and tennis; swimming and running are great for asthmatics; and cycling, water aerobics and dancing benefit arthritics.
Of course, diet too plays a critical role in increasing longevity. For instance, it would help older women to include nuts, green leafy veggies, green tea and fruits in their diet.
While exercise plays a pivotal role in increasing one’s longevity, it is also pure wisdom for women to speak to their health care providers before taking on an exercise regimen.