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Exercise Benefits for Seniors

Oct 17, 2016 | Life at Ávila

It’s no surprise that regular physical activity is good for us. Exercise helps prevent heart disease, manage blood pressure, and can reduce the risk of stroke and diabetes. As we age, exercising on a regular basis is even more important. Why? Regular exercise increases energy levels, assists with pain management and helps retain mobility and independence. Exercise does more than benefit our bodies. There are mental and emotional benefits too. It’s good for our mood and helps manage depression.

Extra bonus? Exercise can help protect memory and thinking skill.

Here’s what Harvard’s Medical Health Publications blog says about the link between brain health and exercise:

Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.

Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.

Many studies have suggested that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) have greater volume in people who exercise versus people who don’t. “Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions,” says Dr. Scott McGinnis, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Exercise at Ávila

To reap the physical, mental and emotional benefits of exercise, it needs to be regular. Beginning an exercise regimen may seem daunting at first but it’s a lot easier if these two things are in place 1) Opportunity and 2) Community. At Ávila, there are many opportunities to exercise – whether you choose to exercise on your own in the fitness facility (which includes a pool!) or participate in one of our many classes.

Here’s a little peek at our exercise schedule.

Avila Fitness Schedule

There’s something for every level of fitness and mobility as you can see from this video clip of the Stretch & Flex class.

So do yourself a favor. Get moving! Your body – and your brain – will thank you.