Pella Chronicle

Opinion

May 31, 2013

National Senior Health and Fitness Day spotlights the benefits of exercise for older adults

Pella —

Approximately 100,000 older adults embraced the “Think Healthy, Eat Healthy, Act Healthy…Be Healthy!” theme of this year’s National Senior Health and Fitness Day by participating in activities at more than 1,000 locations throughout the United States on Wednesday, May 29. 
Here in Pella, members of Hearthstone came together that day along with community members and residents of WesleyLife’s Park Centre in Newton to celebrate WesleyLife’s eighth annual National Senior Health and Fitness Day. They engaged in physical activity and social interaction by joining in outdoor lawn games and a walk at Lake Red Rock. Some walked a quarter mile, while others trekked up to two miles. Many participants capped off the celebration with a picnic lunch catered by Central College at North Overlook Shelter House. 
National Senior Health and Fitness Day provides a great opportunity to encourage older adults to become more active so they can enjoy the many benefits of exercise, which include strengthening mind, body and spirit.
Physical activity also is associated with a reduced risk or slower progression of age-related conditions, as well as improvements in overall health in older age, according to a commentary and four articles published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in January 2010.
The four studies published in that issue demonstrate the wide range of important age-related outcomes for which exercise has a relevant impact:
-Midlife exercise is associated with better health in later years for women who reach age 70 or older
-Resistance training programs  improve attention and conflict-resolution skills among older women
-Moderate to  high physical activity is associated with a lower risk of developing cognitive impairment in older adults
-Women age 65 or older who participated in an exercise program for 18 months appeared to have denser bones and a reduced risk of falls
“Exercise has previously been linked to beneficial effects on arthritis, falls, fractures, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity,” Jeff Williamson, M.D., and Macro Pahor, M.D., of the University of Florida, concluded in the commentary. “Regular physical activity has also been associated with greater longevity as well as reduced risk of physical disability and dependence, the most important health outcome for most older people.”

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