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The Benefits of Exercise For Improved Quality of Life

When it comes to staying young, vibrant, and healthy… age is just a number!

The real secret to maintaining our youth is not really so secretive — it’s all about staying active. The truth is, exercise can make all the difference in how we experience life as we age.

As we grow older, our bodies naturally undergo changes, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept a decline in our physical abilities or overall quality of life. In fact, regular physical activity has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to counteract the effects of aging and promote vitality.

From improving mobility and strength to boosting energy levels and enhancing mental well-being, exercise offers a multitude of benefits for older adults (ALL adults!).

Ahead, I'm sharing all the benefits of exercise for quality of life - the everyday, functional things that really matter -at any age!

The Benefits of Exercise For Quality of Life

#1 Improved Mobility

If you’re experiencing joint stiffness, muscle weakness, or reduced flexibility, you’re not alone. These are common challenges that many older adults face as they age. However, regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to combat these issues and maintain or even improve your mobility!

By incorporating simple stretches or mindful movements into your daily routine (with exercises such as yoga and pilates) you can gradually increase your flexibility and range of motion while also promoting relaxation and stress relief — win-win!

#2 Increased Bone Density

Did you know that as we age, our bones naturally become more brittle and more prone to fractures? In fact, after age 30, when most achieve peak bone mass, we start to lose more than we gain. By age 50, one in two women and one in five men will experience broken or fractured bones due to osteoporosis.

However, exercise — specifically, weight-bearing exercise — is one of the best ways to combat this! Research has shown that weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and strength training, can significantly increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures in older adults. Postmenopausal women who engage in regular weight-bearing exercise can maintain and improve had bone mineral density in the spine and hip, two common sites of osteoporotic fractures.

#3 Decreased Fall Risk

Unfortunately, falls are a leading cause of injury and loss of independence among older adults, with 1 in 4 (14 million) older adults reporting falls each year. However, this doesn’t have to be you! By incorporating regular exercise, you can improve your strength, stability, and coordination and reduce the risk of falls or injury.

#4 Improved Strength

Speaking of strength, regular exercise is a powerful tool for building and maintaining muscle strength, especially as we age.

As we grow older, we naturally lose muscle mass and strength, a condition known as sarcopenia. However, engaging in strength-building exercises (whether utilizing your own body weight or including various types of equipment such as weights or resistance bands) can help combat this age-related decline and improve overall strength and vitality.

#5 Enhanced Energy

That’s right, by moving more, you can actually gain energy! Research has consistently shown that regular physical activity is associated with increased energy levels and reduced feelings of fatigue. Whether it’s taking a brisk walk in nature, a personal training session or fitness class, or pressing play on an online workout, energy is a huge bonus of exercise for improved quality of life.

In addition to increasing blood flow and supporting sleep, exercise helps to release endorphins, our body’s natural feel-good hormones, that help boost both mood and energy.

How to Fit More Movement Into Your Day

Walk Daily

Walking is one of the simplest, most accessible, and most effective forms of exercise that can easily be integrated into your daily routine. Whether it’s a walking meditation, a stroll around your neighborhood, or parking further away from your destination, every step counts.

Find a goal that works for you, whether it’s a certain number of steps or minutes, and stick to it. For added accountability, grab a walking buddy and challenge them to join you!

Include Resistance Training In Your Routine

To improve strength, increase bone mineral density, and maintain muscle mass, incorporating resistance training exercises into your workout routine can drastically help to improve your quality of life.

Aim for two to four resistance training days per week, incorporating a mix of exercises that target your whole body (like squats, lunges, pushups, and planks). Modify as you need, or challenge yourself with light weights or resistance bands!

Consider Functional Fitness

Functional fitness exercises mimic everyday movements for improved strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. Not only can these types of exercises help keep you healthy and mobile, but they can also help to improve your ability to perform daily tasks with ease and confidence.

Whether it’s weighted walking lunges to mimic carrying heavy groceries to the house, or deadlifts to improve your strength and mobility when you bend down to tie your shoes or pick something up off the floor, functional fitness can help you stay strong and independent as you age.

Bust Stress & Get Grounded With Low Impact Exercises

The benefits of low impact exercises like Tai Chi, yin yoga, and gentle stretching are endless. From reduced stress, to improved sleep, and enhanced mobility, including these exercises in your weekly (or daily!) regime is a simple way to improve your quality of life, at any age.

For low impact (joint friendly) exercise that has a bit more intensity, try Barre or Pilates.

Regardless of your age, exercise is one of the best ways to improve your quality of life and overall health. From improving mobility, strength, and energy levels, to reducing the risk of falls and injury, to supporting all the activities we perform in our everyday life, moving more comes with endless benefits.

Whether it’s lacing up your sneakers for a daily walk, including resistance training into your regime, or trying something fun and functional like Tai Chi, find something you enjoy and stay consistent!

And even if you’re brand-new to working out, it’s never too late to start reaping the benefits of exercise. So, get moving!

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