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Why Be Active?

It is never too late to start exercising. Exercise has benefits at any age. Staying active will allow you to continue being independent and maintain the lifestyle you enjoy.

Talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise regime. Your provider can suggest exercises and activities that are right for you.

You don’t need to spend hours in the gym every day to see benefits. Moving your body just 30 minutes a day is enough to improve your health.

An effective exercise program needs to be fun and helps to keep you motivated. It helps to have a goal. Your goal might be to:

  • Manage a health condition
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve your stamina
  • Be able to buy clothes in a smaller size

Your exercise program may also be a way for you to socialize. Taking exercise classes or exercising with a friend are both good ways to be social.

You may have a hard time starting an exercise routine. Once you do start, though, you will begin to notice the benefits, including improved sleep and self-esteem.

Exercise and physical activity can also:

  • Improve or maintain your strength and fitness
  • Make it easier to do the things you want to do
  • Help your balance and walking
  • Help with feelings of depression or anxiety and improve your mood
  • Maintain your thinking skills (cognitive function) as you get older
  • Prevent or treat diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, breast and colon cancer, and osteoporosis

Your skin can be affected by the amount of oxidative stress in your body.

Oxidative stress occurs when the body’s antioxidant defenses cannot completely repair the damage that free radicals cause to cells. This can damage their internal structures and deteriorate your skin.

Even though intense and exhaustive physical activity can contribute to oxidative damage, regular moderate exercise can increase your body’s production of natural antioxidants, which help protect cells.

In the same way, exercise can stimulate blood flow and induce skin cell adaptations that can help delay the appearance of skin aging.

Moderate exercise can provide antioxidant protection and promote blood flow, which can protect your skin and delay signs of aging.

Exercise can improve brain function and protect memory and thinking skills.

To begin with, it increases your heart rate, which promotes the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain.

It can also stimulate the production of hormones that can enhance the growth of brain cells.

Moreover, the ability of exercise to prevent chronic disease can translate into benefits for your brain, since its function can be affected by these diseases.

Regular physical activity is especially important in older adults since aging — combined with oxidative stress and inflammation — promotes changes in brain structure and function.

Exercise has been shown to cause the hippocampus, a part of the brain that’s vital for memory and learning, to grow in size. This serves to increase mental function in older adults.

Lastly, exercise has been shown to reduce changes in the brain that can cause Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

Regular exercise improves blood flow to the brain and helps brain health and memory. Among older adults, it can help protect mental function.

 

In regards to sleep quality, the energy depletion that occurs during exercise stimulates recuperative processes during sleep.

Moreover, the increase in body temperature that occurs during exercise is thought to improve sleep quality by helping it drop during sleep.

Many studies on the effects of exercise on sleep have reached similar conclusions.

One study found that 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week can provide up to a 65% improvement in sleep quality.

Another showed that 16 weeks of physical activity increased sleep quality and helped 17 people with insomnia sleep longer and more deeply than the control group. It also helped them feel more energized during the day (41Trusted Source).

What’s more, engaging in regular exercise seems to be beneficial for the elderly, who tend to be affected by sleep disorder.

You can be flexible with the kind of exercise you choose. It appears that either aerobic exercise alone or aerobic exercise combined with resistance training can equally help sleep quality.

Regular physical activity, regardless of whether it is aerobic or a combination of aerobic and resistance training, can help you sleep better and feel more energized during the day.