The Importance of Exercise in the Aging Process

Dec 13, 2019 | Teacher's Corner

New studies by doctors and scientists have found that seniors who exercise improve not only their physical fitness, but also experience psychological benefits as well. Exercise can help symptoms of depression and is also a key for cognitive function.


Scientists have found that brain neurons – the special cells that perform all the necessary functions to keep you alive, as well as help you think and improve your memory – all increase after a few weeks of regular exercise. In fact some researchers found that when individuals walk three or more times per week the occurrence of dementia was 35% lower than those seniors who were not involved in any type of physical activity. Leading a physically active life actually changes the brain structure and function for the better, whilst reducing the risk of cognitive decline.

Regular exercise by seniors may decrease the time it takes for a wound to heal by 25%. A healthy strong body can better fight off infection and makes recovery from illness or injury easier.

Falls are the No 1 injury among seniors. Falling leads to injuries like broken legs or other bones and exercise is a key component to improve functional reach and balance. The increased mobility that comes from regular moderate exercise can help seniors to maintain their independence if it is done on a long term basis. Weight bearing exercise also increases bone density –like muscle , bone is living tissue brisk walking, dancing, cycling low impact aerobics will all increase bone density.

Regular exercises reduces the risk of chronic diseases. As we age our muscle mass begins to decrease and then, when we enter our forties, adults can lose 3 – 5 % muscle mass with each subsequent decade. Muscle is an essential contribution to our balance and bone strength and keeps us strong. Without it our mobility and independence become compromised.

(Ursula Laverty)