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The Surprising Extra Benefits of
Exercise for Seniors

By Janet Crozier

(Page 2 of 3)

Improve quality of life

A new study has found that previously sedentary senior citizens who incorporated exercise into their lifestyles not only improved physical function, but experienced psychological benefits as well. (Source:

Increase balance

This helps prevent falls, a major cause of broken hips and other injuries that often lead to disability and loss of independence. (Source: Senior

Increase life expectancy

Benefits are greater among the most active persons, but are also evident among those who reported moderate activity, according to the CDC.

A little goes a long way

“When it comes to exercise for seniors, consistency is more important than intensity,” explains Montgomery. Researchers have found that you don’t have to engage in strenuous exercises to gain health benefits. “Moderate exercise, such as walking five or more days a week, can lead to substantial health benefits. Even brief amounts of physical activity, say 10 minutes at a time, can be beneficial.”

Never too late

According to the National Institute of Aging, exercise isn’t just for seniors in the younger age range. People who are 80, 90 or older can also benefit greatly from physical activity. Exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people age. In some cases, it can improve health and independence for older people who already have diseases and disabilities, if it’s done on a long-term, regular basis.

“The key is to find something geared to your fitness level that you enjoy doing,” says Montgomery. “And it’s important to start at a level you can manage and work your way up slowly.” Start by seeing your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

Tips for sticking with an exercise program:

Have a plan

Identify obstacles and find ways around them. For instance, your fitness routine easily could run off track during the holidays and vacations. Look for hotels with a health club, and include a walking or biking tour of scenic or historic places in your vacation plans.


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