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You Can Age Better With Physical Activity

Aging can bring about its own challenges - aches and pains to name a few. But with regular physical activity, you can feel better for longer. Research has shown that through physical activity we build strength and endurance, and this ultimately prolongs our life. Also, regular physical activity can better protect your mental fitness and your mobility as you age. Read on to find out how daily physical activity can help you age better, enhancing your overall quality of life. 

How Physical Activity Helps You Age Better:

  • It protects your brain: By maintaining an active lifestyle, you can prevent certain cognitive decline that can come with age. Studies show that physical activity helps create new cells in the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning. This means in addition to keeping you sharper, it may help reduce your risk of dementia. 

  • It makes you feel happier: By moving our bodies, we create a chemical reaction that simply makes us feel happier. Our brains flood with feel-good chemicals that make us smile more, laugh more and be more open to good things. It is easy to see how an active lifestyle is correlated with greater life satisfaction.  

  • It helps us love better and strengthens social connections: Getting active is a great way to forge better social connections with friends, family and people within your community. This can offset the risk of isolation that can come with a reduction in your physical activity. Getting out and being with other people such as during a walk, hike, or an aqua fitness class at your local community centre is key to overall health and well-being, especially as we age.

  • It helps you maintain mobility and independence:  Through daily physical activity you can improve your balance and strength, thus reducing the risk of falls and injury. It is estimated that around 35% of people aged 65 or older fall each year in Canada, a risk factor that increases as you age. Muscle-building activities like strength training that focuses on the major muscle groups (legs, core and back) twice a week is a good way to increase strength, while yoga and tai chi can help maintain balance.

How Much Daily Physical Exercise?

Statistics show that only 16% of Canadian adults aged 19-79 meet the recommended guidelines for health-sustaining physical activity. The good news for older adults is that these guidelines can be met by adding 10-15  minutes of physical activity each day. Adults aged 65 and up are encouraged to reach for this target as well but should prioritise daily movement, sufficient sleep (at least eight hours a night) and reducing sedentary time. 

Three Ways To Get You Moving Each Day

  • Go for a walk or a bike ride around your neighbourhood: This has to be one of the simplest ways of incorporating physical activity into your daily life. You can increase your heart rate while going for a brisk 20 minute walk, or a fun 20 minute bike ride. 

  • Take up gardening: Gardening is a great way of combining daily physical exercise with an enjoyable hobby. Plus, you can benefit from the nutritious plants that you grow! Whether it is gardening in containers on your balcony, or keeping a plot in a community garden, gardening can certainly keep you busy daily, or most of the time. 

  • Build your strength: Adults are encouraged to get in at least two strength training sessions a week that work the major muscle groups. Bodyweight exercises like push-ups or squats and lunges provide excellent opportunities to challenge large muscle groups. Of course, these can be modified for all levels and ages. 

If you would like to find out more on how maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you invest in your future and improve your life insurance premiums, contact us today.