We all know how important it is to stay in shape. We are told our whole lives to make sure we stay active and exercise regularly to stay healthy. When we’re young, we have gym class in school, participate in school sports, and play at recess.

It is relatively easy to remain active when we’re young. We’re surrounded by peers who are doing the same, so joining in on the fun is a no-brainer.

What happens when we get older? Exercise gets harder and harder the older we get. Not only do we get busy with careers, relationships, and family, but the aches and pains of age get us away from the habit of exercising. This only makes it more difficult to get back on the horse after we have free time again during retirement.

Although it can be difficult, it is very important to stay active as we get older. There are several benefits of exercising into old age, and there are just a handful of the most important.

Physical Benefits

  1. Exercise helps lose or maintain weight. Our metabolism slows down significantly when we get older, so keeping a healthy weight can be difficult. Exercise will help naturally boost your metabolism, which can help regulate weight.
  2. Remaining active can decrease the impact of illness or disease on seniors. According to Help Guide, “people who exercise tend to have improved immune and digestive functioning, better blood pressure and bone density, and a lower risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.”
  3. Regular exercise enhances balance, mobility, and flexibility. This is especially important for older citizens because these abilities naturally tend to deteriorate with age.

Mental

  1. Exercise can help you sleep better at night. The Help Guide also tells us that regular exercise and physical activity can help you fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, and wake feeling more energetic and refreshed.
  2. Regular exercise can boost mood and self-esteem. Exercise relieves stress and produces endorphins that can help shake many negative feelings.
  3. Finally, exercise can help out the brain tremendously. Regular physical activity can help brain functions like multitasking and creativity and can even aid in preventing memory loss and dementia. Some researchers now believe that staying active may even help slow the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Because of these mental and physical benefits, more assisted living facilities are prioritizing age-appropriate exercise as part of their amenities. As of a 2012 survey, there were 22,200 assisted living homes and similar residential care communities in the United States. These homes help their residents with daily activities, but the best assisted living communities now offer fitness opportunities as well.