Benefits of Physical Activity | Physical Activity

Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles

Woman Walking Dog

As you age, it’s important to protect your bones, joints, and muscles – they support your body and help you move. Keeping bones, joints, and muscles healthy can help ensure that you’re able to do your daily activities and be physically active. Doing aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening physical activity at a moderately-intense level can slow the loss of bone density that comes with age.

Hip fracture is a serious health condition that can have life-changing negative effects, especially if you’re an older adult. Physically active people have a lower risk of hip fracture than inactive people.

Among older adults, physical activity also reduces the risk of falling and injuries from falls. Physical activity programs that include more than one type of physical activity are most successful at reducing falls and fall-related injuries. Different types of physical activity include aerobic, muscle strengthening, and balance physical activities. Also, weight bearing activities such as running, brisk walking, jumping jacks and strength training produce a force on the bones. These activities that can help promote bone growth and bone strength and reduce the risk of fall-related injuries and fractures.

Regular physical activity helps with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions affecting the joints. Doing 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, if able, plus muscle-strengthening activity improves your ability to manage pain and do everyday tasks and improves quality of life.

Build strong, healthy muscles. Muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights can help you increase or maintain your muscle mass and strength. This is important for older adults who experience reduced muscle mass and muscle strength with aging. Slowly increasing the amount of weight and number of repetitions you do as part of muscle strengthening activities will give you even more benefits, no matter your age.

Improve Your Ability to do Daily Activities and Prevent Falls

A functional limitation is a loss of the ability to do everyday activities such as climbing stairs, grocery shopping, or playing with your grandchildren.

How does this relate to physical activity? If you’re a physically active middle-aged or older adult, you have a lower risk of functional limitations than people who are inactive.

Improve physical function and decrease the risk of falls. For older adults, multicomponent physical activity is important to improve physical function and decrease the risk of falls or injury from a fall. Multicomponent physical activity is physical activity that includes more than one type of physical activity, such as aerobic, muscle strengthening, and balance training. Multicomponent physical activity can be done at home or in a community setting as part of a structured program.

Increase Your Chances of Living Longer

Science shows that physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers. This is remarkable in two ways:

  1. Only a few lifestyle choices have as large an impact on your health as physical activity. People who are physically active for about 150 minutes a week have a 33% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who are physically inactive.
  2. You don’t have to do high amounts of activity or vigorous-intensity activity to reduce your risk of premature death. Benefits start to accumulate with any amount of moderate- or vigorous-intensity physical activity.

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