There is a stereotype that exists regarding senior citizens or the elderly. The image that typically comes to mind when we hear one of those words is more than likely a grandparent. This person is sitting in a chair, resting or watching television. Perhaps there is a cane or walker nearby. How many of us would think of a grandparent running a 5k? What about playing tennis or bike riding? The reality is that the lifestyles of the older population can run the gamut. But as we age, we play an active role in determining how well we age by how active we remain.
Essentially we are in the driver’s seat when it comes to controlling our aging process. We cannot avoid getting older and the physical changes that take place such as graying hair, wrinkles, and thinning hair. However, we can slow down the overall aging of our body through something as simple as exercise. Yes, it is true!
There are many benefits to the body and aging through exercise:
- improved memory and thinking
- improved spacial memory
- formation of new neural pathways, brain cells, and blood vessels
- decrease of inflammation
- decrease in stress and anxiety
- better moods, sleep, circulations and digestion
- improved bone density
- improved muscle mass, strength, and power
- better balance
- higher energy levels
Studies show that older adults that continue to exercise and remain active can be just as competitive as their younger rivals, except, of course, at the elite level. At a fundamental level, we know the importance of exercise regardless of our age. We know the significance of being fit and maintaining a healthy diet. Yet, we continue to engage in unhealthy lifestyles. The question is why? Is it because we feel we can put it off until a tomorrow that never comes? Do we feel okay so therefore we are physically okay? What about excuses we give ourselves that we simply don’t have time, we are too busy? What needs to change within us to accept responsibility for our health? The decision of course is up to you. How one ends up aging comes down to a series of decisions that are made each and every day, starting right now.