Staying fit in an independent living community should include a daily exercise routine with plenty of cardio (aka aerobic) exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Aerobic activity or ‘cardio’ gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster. From pushing a lawn mower, to taking a dance class, to walking or biking to the store – these types of activities and more count.” But like all exercise, it takes commitment so here are five great reasons why seniors should get 30 minutes of daily cardio exercise.
1) Burn calories – Even if you aren’t overweight, keeping extra weight off is so much easier with regular daily cardio exercise. As we age, calories become harder to burn, but the more intense the exercise, the more calories will be needed for fuel. Daily cardio exercise is a great way to lose pounds while gaining muscle mass, which is essential to aging safely. According to the CDC article, “Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight,” moderate- to vigorous-intensity cardio exercise combined with a healthy diet can help maintain weight and lower risk for cardiovascular disease (including high blood pressure and stroke) and diabetes.
2) Strengthen bones – Loss of bone mass is a common problem among older adults which can result in osteoporosis and increase the risk of broken bones. Both men and women can lose bone mass over time, but daily cardio exercise is one of the ways to prevent or even reverse bone loss. The National Institute on Aging’s article, “Osteoporosis” notes that weight-bearing exercise like “weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing” (which can also be cardio exercises) are key to strengthening bones as well as muscles and are great options for a daily cardio exercise routine.
3) Reap the mental benefits – According to the CDC article, “Depression is Not a Normal Part of Growing Older,” older adults are at increased risk for depression and at the same time are often undertreated or misdiagnosed for the condition. But daily cardio exercise is one simple way to ward off depression while gaining the physical benefits as well. Although research is just beginning to link exercise with good mental health the evidence is mounting. In one study detailed in the Harvard Health article, “More evidence that exercise can boost mood,” researchers found that 15 minutes of “higher-intensity” exercise actually can help prevent depression.
4) Meet people – Working out, including daily cardio exercise, with others can be fun and might even make it more productive than working out alone. According to fitness experts, those who work out in a group or with a partner tend to improve their exercise intensity, have more motivation, and reach their goals more consistently. The dynamics of working out in a group include a sense of competition but also a feeling of camaraderie or friendship. When striving toward an exercise goal, having others there to encourage and support the effort can be a huge motivator. Find out more about getting daily cardio exercise with others in the NBC News article, “The health benefits of working out with a crowd.”
5) Improve overall quality of life – Perhaps the greatest benefit of regular daily cardio exercise is the overall improvement in quality of life. By maintaining physical and mental independence, older adults who exercise also sleep better, are at less risk for falls, and have lower risks for a broad range of diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and conditions like dementia and arthritis. Fit seniors are also able to do more for themselves, stay self-reliant and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with good health. More about seniors and exercise can be found in the wellness.nifs.org blog, “Top 10 Reasons Exercise Is Important for Senior Health.”
Independent living and daily cardio exercise go hand-in-hand at Sonrisa Senior Living. Our active and vibrant residents take advantage of all our amenities to stay fit and enjoy life in luxury. From the pickleball court to the pool and exercise center, check out our gallery, and contact us to learn more about all we have to offer.