The Importance of Fitness For Seniors
Fitness is vital for everyone, regardless of their age. However, as you get older, there are some increases in your needs, including a bigger need for being physical fit. Here are some reasons you should focus on your fitness as a senior.
Improves Cognitive Function
For a number of years, it’s been known that there is a link between physical activity and cognitive health. Some think this could be due to the increase of blood flow to all parts of the body including the brain. Having a well maintained routine has been shown to have a noticeably positive effect on depression, as well as a reduction in damage resulting from cognitive brain disorders. Daily exercise improves coordination and communication between the brain and the body, which is better for a healthy system overall.
Helps Prevent Diseases and Injury
It’s been discovered that an active lifestyle during the senior years can improve blood pressure, and in turn aid heart health. Getting your heart rate up for a sustained period helps to strengthen the heart which can help reduce the risk of heart failure. Exercise can also shore up the muscles that you need to remain balanced, which results in a reduction of risk for falling. The simple act of standing, extending and stretching can help preserve flexibility, which will both reduce risk of muscle injury, and help to slow or prevent loss of bone density.
Your Body Will Heal Better
When the body is heavily taxed, healing becomes a much more difficult process. A healthy body will be more efficient at repairs because it isn’t working as hard to keep the body alive. Having a healthy heart that pumps blood properly to all extremities, lungs that function, and a digestive system that can absorb and replace vital nutrients will create a situation that makes it easier for systems to focus on their job and replace damaged cells.
Listening To Your Body For Better Health
For many of us, better health does not come naturally. It is usually something we must work on in order to lead healthy lives and have overall excellent health. This means listening to your body and understanding what it is telling you about what is going on inside the body. Here are some ways you can listen to your body so you can have a life that is sustained by good health.
Watching The Scale
You can listen to your body every time you put on your clothes or when stepping on the scale. Do your clothes fit right? Are they becoming too loose on you or are they fitting snuggly? Is the scale tipping one way or another in the wrong direction? If you find that you are losing too much weight or packing on the pounds, it may be that you are being affected by stress and are not eating in ways that promote good health. Good health comes from eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. This is in lieu of eating processed foods such as cookies, cakes, processed meals, and candies—all of which have excess calories and preservatives that are generally unhealthy for you.
Eating too little can affect your health as well. When you eat less than the amount of food you are supposed to eat, you can suffer from lack of proper nutrients. Lacking in proper nutrients, your body does not function properly and you can cause yourself to be sick from lack of the nutrients to support immune health.
Listen To Your Digestive System
Your digestive system is not only the way you get proper nutrients. It also is the main way your body uses to protect itself from pathogens. The digestive system is one big part of the immune system so you need to treat it with the care it deserves. This means paying attention to episodes of diarrhea that can strip the colon of protective bacteria, constipation, and indigestion from being under excess stress or eating the wrong foods.
You can care for your digestive system by eating healthy foods and by taking probiotics, which can replenish the gut with good bacteria. Probiotics can be taken in by eating plain yogurt with live cultures or by eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kefir.
If you can’t get it in the foods you eat, you can purchase many probiotic supplements at the drug store or online. Some of the best probiotics are those that come in spore form. The spores can survive the acidic environment of your stomach and then release the live bacteria in the intestines, where they take root and drive out the bad bacteria and fungi.
Listen To Your Cardiovascular System
This means following your blood pressure and pulse very carefully. If you are inactive or have a family history of high blood pressure, you may be suffering from high blood pressure and not know it. This is what happened to me. My blood pressure was over 200 when I went in to see my doctor and he asked how I had even come into his office. I felt fine, but it appears I was a walking potential heart attack.
Check your blood pressure every time you run across a blood pressure machine at the drug store or grocery store if you feel it might be high. When you see the doctor, your blood pressure will be taken as well. If it is consistently elevated, you may need to be on an antihypertensive medication or modify your diet and exercise program so you can avoid some of the many complications of high blood pressure.
You should check your pulse as well on a periodic basis. A high pulse can mean that you are too inactive or are under a great deal of stress. Exercise can cause your heart to function better and will slow your pulse to normal levels.
Listen For And Respect Signs Of Stress and Fatigue
Feel tired, but keep pushing yourself past your limits? Are you fighting fatigue on a regular basis, instead of taking the time to rest and rejuvenate? Fatigue and low energy are both your body talking to you and letting you know that you need to rest and relax, if you don’t listed you will crash and burn.
Are you ignoring anxiety, instead of looking to erase its sources and lower stress levels? Stress kills, and you are the only one that can take care to reduce its load on your body, mind, and spirit. Great ways to fight stress and its impact are Tai Chi, meditation, yoga and taking vacations on a regular basis.
P.S. Please share these tips with any seniors you know and please comment if you find them helpful.
P.P.S. New to Yoga? Here are some tips to start – Over 5o Yoga