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Most people are used to hearing about the importance of exercise. However, many people don't realize that as they age, the importance of physical activity for staying healthy grows. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight and energy, exercise for seniors can have huge benefits for their physical and mental well-being.

Prevent Illness and Disease
Exercise is commonly touted as a way to stave off heart attacks. This is no less true for seniors, but on top of preventing cardiovascular disease, fitness for seniors can also reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.

Improve Mental Health
Exercise has been proven to be effective in combating mental health disorders such as depression, which affects a large number of elderly people. On top of helping boost mood, seniors who regularly engage in fitness activities have shown decreased risk of dementia and memory loss.

Reduce the Risk of Falls
Regular exercise improves strength and balance, both of which are crucial in preventing seniors from falling. Further, physical activity can stave off the loss in both density that commonly affects both men and women as they age. Maintaining bone density can also potentially reduce the frequency and severity of fractures in the event that a fall does occur.

Maintain Quality of Life
One of the reasons exercise has been associated with higher quality of life in seniors is because it helps them preserve physical functionality. For example, exercise has been shown to lead to better muscle tone and mobility, both of which are crucial for seniors who want to maintain an independent lifestyle for as long as possible.

What Does Fitness for Seniors Look Like?
Anyone who's ever walked into a gym after a long hiatus from exercising knows how intimidating (and even bewildering) it can be to start or resume a fitness habit. Fortunately, there are plenty of options, from independent workouts to fitness classes especially for seniors. Most experts recommend a combination of aerobic (or cardio) workouts and strength training.

For seniors who struggle with limited mobility or strength, consider trying out low-impact activities like walking, yoga, and swimming or water aerobics. Of course, for seniors who struggle with health problems or physical limitations, working on a personalized plan with a doctor, physical therapist, or other professional is a great place to start.

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Visit our website for more information on our senior meals program or to download a copy of our utility assistance application.