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While there’s no fountain of youth, there is mounting evidence that regular exercise is key to fighting the effects of aging and disease. Exercise regularly and you could ward off diabetes, heart disease and a host of other diseases and even reverse others. You could also improve your flexibility and balance, which is especially critical as adults who lack balance are at greater risk of falls, which are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admission among older adults, according to the National Council of Aging.
The difference between those who exercise and those who don’t is stark: One recent study from the University of Birmingham and King’s College London compared the muscles and immune systems of a group of older adults who had exercised their entire lives with a group of similarly aged adults and younger adults who had not exercised regularly. People who worked out consistently defied the aging process by enjoying the immunity and muscle mass of a much younger person. The study indicates it’s a lack of exercise rather than age that causes someone to lose immune protection.
If you’re now wondering how do I get myself or a senior friend or relative off the couch and working out, it’s important to start slowly and consult a doctor if you’ve had injury issues in the past or currently suffer from a condition that might impair your ability to exercise. We’ve selected a few senior-friendly low-impact cardio exercises, as well as exercises like yoga and tai chi that help improve one’s balance. Whatever your fitness ability is, the key thing to get moving!