Even if you’ve never exercised in your life, there’s no reason not to start now. Exercise becomes especially important once you reach the age of 50 since that tends to be when we become more susceptible to illness, chronic diseases and depression. Being active and exercising regularly can actually help you fight the effects of aging. Here’s how:
Curtailing chronic disease
Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are two of the biggest killers in America for women over the age of 50. They also happen to be hugely related to lifestyle. That means that by committing to exercising and eating a healthful diet, you can fend them off or even reverse them if you’ve already been affected. There are also certain types of cancer you may be able to avoid by exercising. Most doctors recommend 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day at least five days per week.
Improving mental health
Aging can play a big part in your mental health, especially as your nest empties, loved ones pass away and you find yourself without all the distractions, constant human interaction and busywork you once had. Surprisingly, retirement even tends to send people into depression as they attempt to figure out how to spend their free time meaningfully. But working out releases happy endorphins -chemicals released in the body that trigger positive feelings- and helps you stay relaxed by giving you an outlet for tension and stress, making it an excellent way to combat the blues.
Also Read: The mental and emotional benefits of dancing
Bettering your bones
Exercise improves bone density making it essential for both preventing and treating osteoporosis. Plus, the more fit you are the better balance, strength and coordination you’ll have, making you less likely to suffer from falls that could cause broken bones and other bone-weakening injuries. Strength training such as lifting weights, is your best bet for healthy bones as they force you to work against gravity which in turn strengthens your bones. Though beneficial for your heart, exercises such as swimming and cycling won’t do much for your bones.
Enhancing quality of life
On top of the more tangible health benefits, or perhaps because of them, exercising regularly has the major benefit of vastly improving quality of life. You’ll be happier, healthier, more confident and less stressed. It’s a fantastic hobby that will keep both your mind and body active and strong. It may even have social benefits if you choose to enlist a workout buddy, join an exercise group or take group fitness classes at your local gym.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to consult with your physician before starting any exercise program, especially if you have a pre-existing condition or any health concerns.