Health Tips: The Benefits of Exercise (and the Risks of Inactivity)
On Monday, we discussed the benefits of improving posture through exercise, and how doing so can help you maintain balance and decrease the risk of falling.
But the benefits of exercise go much further than improving your posture and decreasing the risk of falling. So today, we’re going to talk a little bit more about the benefits of exercising, as well as the health risks associated with inactivity.
The Risks of Inactivity
According to an infographic put out by Evergreen Rehabilitation, only 22% of 39 million people aged 65 or older reported engaging in regular physical activity:
- It was reported that the average time spent doing physical activity was about .29 hours (17 minutes), whereas the average time spent watching TV was 4.3 hours
- Studies show that physical inactivity and poor diet are two of the major causes of an epidemic of obesity that is affecting the elderly“contributing to high rates of heart disease and diabetes with 18% of the elderly population being obese, 40% overweight, and 42% at a healthy weight.
- The infographic also shows that the estimated social cost of obesity is around $117 billion
- 4 out of 10 reported having difficulty completing at least one basic activity of daily living such as walking long distances, bending over or carrying groceries.
The risk of inactivity, then, goes far beyond falling and can affect a number of areas in your life.
The Benefits of Exercise
As we mentioned above, exercise can do a lot to help improve the quality of life of the elderly. And, according to the American Council on Exercise, staying active is critical when it comes to aging.
Here are just a few of the benefits of exercise:
- Exercise prevents Osteoporosis: Currently, Osteoporosis affects around 20 million women and 5 million men, leading to more than 250,000 hip fractures each year. Staying active helps to increase bone density, in turn delaying the onset of Osteoporosis.
- Exercise improves self-efficiency: As the ACE notes, one of the main concerns of the elderly is becoming dependent and putting unnecessary stress on their loved ones. Exercising helps you maintain independence by allowing you to take on the activities of daily living.
- Exercise increases metabolism: Through strength training you can increase your muscle mass and along with it, your metabolism. This in turn leads to a reduction in overall body fat percentage.
- Exercise reduces the incidence of depression: Not only does exercise affect physical health, but mental health as well. Exercising improves self-esteem and the feeling of accomplishment.
- Exercise helps maintain a healthy heart: Cardiovascular exercise helps to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Exercising can do a lot to increase/maintain the quality of life for the elderly. Though full-on commitment to exercise is best, you’ll start seeing the benefits of exercise even with just a slight increase in activity.
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