Importance of physical fitness in senior women

Haven’t we all heard about the benefits and the importance of physical fitness in our lives?

But a majority of the time physical fitness remains as a topic of discussion only among the relatively young population of our society. Rarely do we find the need to include and encourage the seniors of our population to be physically fit. 

However, it is time to address and recognise the benefits of exercising and physical activities among the senior women of our lives. In this article, we shall be helping you to do exactly that.

WHAT IS PHYSICAL FITNESS?

Physical fitness can be defined to be a movement of the body which results in energy expenditure. It generally includes exercise, sports, and physical activities performed as part of daily living, occupation, leisure, or active transportation. Exercise is a subcategory of physical fitness which is a planned, structured, and repetitive action, thus helping one to improve their fitness levels. Physical function is the capacity of an individual to perform the physical activities which also reflect motor function and control, physical fitness, etc. 

A paper published in the year 2018 by Birgitta Langhammer mentions that “the health benefits of Physical Fitness are well documented with higher levels and greater frequency of it being associated with reduced risk and improved health in several key areas.” Chances of cardiovascular diseases, strokes, diabetes, certain types of cancer gets delayed while also showing positive signs of development in one’s mental health through regular engagement with physical activities.

IMPORTANCE OF INCLUDING SENIOR WOMEN?

Even though discourses around fitness, healthy body and physical activity are growing rapidly in our country, these are still topics that are largely avoided in discussions. Further, physical training and workouts for women and especially relatively elderly women are considered taboos. However, involving such senior women in physical activities and attempting to make their bodies fitter and healthier is the need of the hour.

According to a study by WHO, the global rate of physical inactivity is 21.4%. This translates to one in every four to five adults being physically inactive. Inactivity and ageing increase the risk of chronic diseases, alterations in body composition resulting in an increase in the percentage of body fat and a decline in lean body mass. Thus, significant loss of health takes place due to inactivity. Exercising can contribute to the maintenance of quality life, health, and reduction in falls among older people in general and senior women in particular.

Various reports by leading researchers have shown that a sedentary lifestyle affects the bone density, muscle strength, joints and the natural abilities of the lungs and the heart. The amount and size of muscle fibres, the bone density, and the strength of the joint start declining by the time people turn 40. These are the normal order of behaviours for the human body.  

Even though with age the human body is known to decay, how much we let our body fitness decline, is however definitely in our hands. Maintaining a physically fit lifestyle, performing physical activities regularly, walking up and down the road while running errands are all some easy yet effective ways of maintaining one’s fitness levels. 

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES OF AGE

Truth be told, beginning or maintaining a training routine can be a challenging task at any age, and it becomes a tad bit more difficult the more we age. However, age shouldn’t be a reason to be discouraged to begin your exercise regime.

If you’ve never exercised before, you may not know where to begin, or you may think you’re too old or frail and can never live up to the standards you set for yourselves when you were younger. These reasons might be valid enough to begin your fitness journey slowly, but they aren’t reasons to stop your fitness journey.

Sometimes, we end up believing that the more we age, the more at risk we are to fall due to exercising. Regular exercises improve strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, thus reducing risks of falling. Further, as we age our bodies tend to develop aches and pains. Hence, a lot of times elderly people refuse to exercise thinking that their pains will be aggravated through exercises. However, regular exercises help to manage such pains and improve strength and virility.

Changes in hormones, metabolism, bone density and muscle mass inevitably decline with age. But that doesn’t mean you can no longer derive a sense of achievement from physical activity or improve your health. 

Exercise is good for you, irrespective of age. Just remember, a sedentary lifestyle takes a much greater toll on health and fitness than natural ageing.

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