Staying Fit As You Age

It’s important to recognize how physical fitness affects your ability to enjoy your retirement. Many people maintain consistent fitness regimens when they are younger, but the pressures of working and having a family can derail health efforts. Whether you’ve managed to retain muscle tone over the years or are restarting an exercise program to prepare for your years in retirement, keep the following facts in mind to enjoy healthy and productive workouts.

The effects of aging

Physical activity is important later in life.

Physical activity is important later in life.

While it is possible to achieve a high level of fitness at any age, there are certain physical limitations that affect a person over time. For men, this includes diminished heart function. According to Harvard Medical School, the human heart loses capacity with age. That means older people will have less endurance than their younger peers, and may find that some cardiovascular activities are too taxing overall. It’s important for older people to recognize these physical realities and avoid pushing themselves too hard.

Though strenuous cardio work may be outside of an older person’s capabilities, they can still engage in activities that improve overall mobility. Flexibility often decreases with age, according to a paper published by the National Institutes of Health, so older people should consider workouts that restore flexibility. As people work toward more intense physical exercise, increased flexibility can prevent injury and make it easier to recover from any injuries that might occur.

Strong bones are a must

People don’t think about bone health very often, but it’s a crucial part of healthy aging. Bones become more prone to breakage over time, according to the National Institutes of Health. This means that older adults who fall are more likely to break their bones than younger individuals. By improving bone health, older people can lessen their chances of breaking a bone and spending time in the hospital.

To maintain strong bones, older adults need to ensure they receive enough calcium, either through their diet or via supplements. Vitamin D is also important to proper bone health, and physical activity ensures that bones remain sturdy.

Proper fitness allows you to enjoy the time you spend in retirement. While the body naturally slows down a bit over time, a commitment to fitness should allow you to remain active late in life.

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